• 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
October 6 -28

Exhibition - Ugly Duckling Presse: 25th Anniversary Celebration

performances
October 18

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
October 20

Poetry Reading: Soham Patel and Lauren Russell 

readings & workshops
October 25

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets + Open Mic

readings & workshops
October 28

Poetry Reading: Kathleen A. Dale, Louisa Loveridge Gallas, Judith Harway, and Bill Murtaugh

special events
November 17

We Exist to Prove the Living Artist: 38th Anniversary Gala

readings & workshops
November 30

Poetry Reading: Anna Vitale and Daniel Owen

film & video
December 14

Film Screening: Riverwest Film & Video by Emir Cakaroz

Amaud Jamaul Johnson

Amaud Jamaul Johnson's first collection,Red Summer (Tupelo, 2006) was selected by Carl Phillips as winner of The Dorset Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University and a graduate of the Cave Canem workshop, he holds degrees from Howard University and Cornell University. His poems have appeared, and or forthcoming in Quarterly West, Shenandoah, New England Review,The Virginia Quarterly Review, Indiana Review, and West Branch. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Selected Poems

Burlesque


Amaud Jamaul Johnson

 

Watch the fire undress him,
how flame fingers each button,
rolls back his collar, unzips him
without sweet talk or mystery.

See how the skin begins to gather
at his ankles, how it slips into
the embers, how it shimmers
beneath him, unshapen, iridescent,

as candlelight on a dark negligee.
Come, look at him, at all his goods,
how his whole body becomes song,
an aria of light, a psalm's kaleidoscope.

Listen as he lets loose an opus,
night's national anthem, the tune
you can't name, but can't stop humming.
There, he burns brilliant as a blue note.