• Address 720 East Locust Street | Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Phone 414.263.5001
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm | Sat-Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mon
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
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exhibitions
August 25 - Oct 1

Exhibition: Vicki, with an i, organized by Michelle Grabner

performances
September 21

Formations presents Steve Nelson-Raney & Binder-Mollerskov-Schlei-Westfahl

film & video
September 22

aCinema: // In Silence Arrives the Tempest // Waiting on Paradise //

exhibitions
September 23 -23

Reception: Vicki with an i, organized by Michelle Grabner

readings & workshops
September 28

Poetry Reading: Stacy Blint, Rebecca Eland & Mark Tardi

readings & workshops
September 30

100 Thousand Poets for Change MKE

readings & workshops
October 5

Poetry Reading: Feliz Lucia Molina

exhibitions
October 11

Exhibition: Jen Bervin, Tactile Lanuguage

readings & workshops
October 12

Offsite Event: Justice for All: Selected Writings of Lloyd A. Barbee

readings & workshops
October 13

Poetry Reading: Caitlin Scarano, Paula Carter & Freesia McKee

performances
October 22

Alternating Currents Live: Tom Rainey & Devin Drobka Percussion Duo

readings & workshops
October 26

Urban Echo Poets

special events
November 3

Join us on Friday, November 3rd for our 37th Annual Anniversary Gala!

 

readings & workshops
November 8

Poetry Reading: Matt Cook

Emily Warn

Emily Warn is a poet, essayist, teacher, and technologist who most recently served as founding editor of poetryfoundation.org. Born in San Francisco and raised in Michigan, she is the author of three books of poetry:The Leaf Path (1982),The Novice Insomniac(1996) and Shadow Architect (2008). Her essays and poems appear widely, including in Poetry, BookForum,Blackbird, Parabola, The Forward, Narrative, The Seattle Times, and The Writers' Almanac. She taught creative writing at Lynchburg College and The Bush School, and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She currently divides her time between Seattle and Twisp, Washington.

Selected Poems

Ox Herding Lesson


Emily Warn

 

The road bends away
               from the sea,
                            meandering
through salt meadow hay.
You walk along singing
               on the road of white sand
                            dug from the marsh,
the sea a hushed roar in the distance
where the forge of waves
                          levels the sand,
spilling its molten silver
              at the sandpipers' feet
                           that scurry, jotting it all down.

Just ahead of you on the road
is an egret, perfectly still,
              perfectly white
and shaped like a lamed,
the only letter with its top
                         in the clouds,
the only letter that leans
            like marsh grass,
one eye cocked on ditch water,
             the other on clouds—
                          white feathers,
                                       aloft yet earthbound.

The egret is dwarfed by salt marsh,
              which stretches far, far
                                                     away,
a wind-flattened white sea of grass
with islands of scraggly myrtles
                                                     rising
from it. And dwarf cedars whose outer needles burn
                          to protect the living sap.

Egrets can stand so still among reeds
                            that fish mistake their legs for grass.
Why then is this one in the road
             when ditches on either side teem
                                           with minnows?

You sit down on hot gravel to ask
                                         and hear
the egret listening to you
              pierce and swallow
                            the atmosphere of fishes and clouds.