• 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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readings & workshops
May 24

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets

readings & workshops
May 26

Genre: Urban Arts - Vibed Out Session

readings & workshops
May 29

Build Your Bindery Community Meeting

performances
June 3

ACL presents: Tom Hamilton & City of Vorticity

readings & workshops
June 6 -8

Workshop with Duriel E. Harris

special events
June 10

Locust Street Festival of Music & Art

June 12

Poetry in the Park - Juneau Park

Jim Chapson

2012-2015 Milwaukee Poet Laureate Jim Chapson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1944 and educated at San Francisco State University. He has lived in Milwaukee since 1976, and teaches creative writing at UWM. His most recent books are Daphnis & Ratboy, Scholia, and Plotinus Blushed (Arlen House, 2013). He has poems in the recent anthology Jack London is Dead: Contemporary Euro-American Poetry of Hawai'i (Tinfish Press, 2013).

He has neither a dog nor a cat; neither tropical fish nor parakeets. He has never held an elective office, and for as far back as he can remember he has not been living in Paris.

Selected Poems

Curiosity


Jim Chapson

 

The mars-lander Curiosity has landed
in a landscape, scientists say,
remarkably like one of earth's deserts.

Getting there required
the perfect functioning
of an elaborate mechanism:
the descent with the heat-shield
jettisoned at the right moment,
the giant parachute deployed
then released, the retro-rockets firing,
the winching down by cables
from a sky-crane
which then takes off—a sequence
so bizarre only a child
could have imagined it, only
obsessive engineers made it work.

And so our Curiosity is now on Mars,
our careful attention, our
desire to know, our
inquisitiveness
which leads us always elsewhere.

We might discover water,
or evidence that water once was there
which might mean life
existed once and may have left
some traces still.

However, there are rumors life
existed once on earth
and left some traces here;
we might discover whether
it could be here still,
but we prefer to keep
our Curiosity on Mars,
where it will rove for years—
a useless if remarkably ingenious
piece of human workmanship;
in fact, a curiosity.