In celebration of National Poetry Month, we have teamed up with four Milwaukee poet-curators—Mauricio Kilwein Guevara, Parker Weaver, Sue Blaustein, and Elias Sepulveda—to help us showcase some of the incredible talent found in our home city. Starting on Saturday, April 3rd for the duration of the month of April, we will be presenting 28 Milwaukee poets, posting poems and videos daily to social media, with weekly roundups sent via email and available on our website.

Poets will include: Peter Blewett, Brenda Cárdenas, Bryon Cherry, Su Cho, Terimarie Degree, Sashene Feather Denny, Juan Cortez, Allison Friske, Mads Friske, Nejla Ghane, Roberto Harrison, Kiara Honeysucker, Janet Jennerjohn, Krishna Kanhai, Thomas Krajna, Michaela Lacy, Ae Hee Lee, Seanyen Lee, Siwar Masannat, Alea McHatten, Ridire Quinn, Isabella Rose, Brian Skelton, Chuck Stebelton, Monica Thomas, Joyce Williams, and Mario Willis.


Upcoming online EVENTS

aCinema Screening: Flying With The Nest

Fri. May 7 | 7 pm CDT | $Give What You Can

A curated group program including film and video works by kelechi agwunchaLéwuga Benson, Ana Esteve Reig, and Peng Zuqiang.


The films will be accessible through aCinema’s website or at the WATCH link below, and will be available throughout the month of May.  

A conversation and Q & A with aCinema co-curators, Janelle VanderKelen and Takahiro Suzuki, will take place via Zoom on Fri. May 7 at 7 pm CDT. 

For an immersive experience between film and Q & A, it’s best to start watching no later than 5:30 pm CDT on Fri. May 7.


wham pass intact (iteration iii) by kelechi agwuncha — 8 min 30 seconds, digital video

In wham pass intact (iteration iii), cos-players reference fencing in a street performance. This video is a part of the wham pass intact, a three part series that explores fencers, capoeria players, and cos-players as filmic characters who use spatial resistance to (re)contexualize their traditional sporting conditions. 

kelechi agwuncha is a Chicago- and San Diego-based visual artist. They harmonize video, film, and photography to migrate vague childhood memories into tethered, athletic movements of black bodies. This pulses towards Igbo-Nigerian heritage. Their work has circulated through OpenTV, MoMA PS1, Toronto International Film Festival x Instagram Festival, and Black International Cinema Berlin. agwuncha is currently pursuing an MFA in Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego.

Inauguration by Peng Zuqiang | 彭祖强 — 13 min 33 seconds, Super 8mm & HD

Through a series of anachronistic travels and narratives between Texas, California, and Havana, the film offers an assemblage of two disparate events at the margins of Chinese revolutionary history: The forgotten story of an unsuccessful assassination attempt in 1910 by George Fong, a member of the Young China Association, who aimed to eliminate a royal prince of the Qing Empire while he was traveling in the United States. The film intertwines this failed assassination with the story of two Chinese-Cuban activists who travelled to the United States for the Young China Association's inauguration one year prior in 1909. Movements, geographies, and events do not follow a linear arch but rather are scattered across memories and places, only to be treated as residues, witnesses, or simply discards of the history. What happens when the premise of the story is, in fact, the assurance of its erasure? The film narrates a forecast of the past, wherein it renders visible the processes of erasure, remembrance, and archival anchors of the early overseas Chinese revolutionary politics and its aftermaths.

Peng Zuqiang makes moving images. Zuqiang’s works have been shown at exhibitions and festivals internationally including UCCA Beijing, Open City Documentary Festival, IDFA, Antimatter, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He has received fellowships and residencies from the MacDowell, Skowhegan, the Core Program and the Lighthouse Works. He received the ‘Jury Special Prize’ from the 8th Huayu Youth Award, and a ‘Special Mention’ from Festival Film Dokumenter, Yogyakarta for his first feature film.

Time to Leave by Léwuga Benson — 16 min 56 seconds, video

Time to Leave is a cine-poetic, experimental documentary-essay / found footage project that has many layers and a powerful, activist message, all guided by a personal story. On the surface, it is a film about the risks, dangers, and consequences of wanting to be seen. But much deeper, it is a film about justice, courage, and self-determination. Oscillating between the past and the present, the film confronts, questions, and, through many aesthetic interventions, challenges assumptions about power and privilege. Namely, the idea that one has to be of a certain race and of a certain class to have the right to access and occupy a given space. Through the use of archival footage, photographs, and other source materials, Time to Leave invites the viewer to consider how the past is always present. In addition, it reminds the viewer, not by finger-wagging, but through the presentations of certain truths and historical testimonies, that no matter how far society has come there is always room for improvement.

Léwuga Benson is a Nigerian-born American artist-filmmaker currently pursuing an MFA in Media Study at the University at Buffalo. His short films and writings are concerned with personal stories that reveal larger histories about identity, cultural acquisition, and society. Léwuga has worked with many local arts organizations in the Buffalo area; including Shea’s Performing Art Center, where he is currently a member of the Spotlight Committee; Squeaky Wheel, The Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology, WNED, Albright Knox, and City of Night, to name a few. He is a recipient of the Gregory Capasso memorial award for outstanding creative work in film and writing. Well-received and congratulated for their strong, poetic, and visual language, Léwuga's films have been screened at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, The Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology, and The Center For The Arts at the University of Buffalo. 

NEW ERA (1.966) by Ana Esteve Reig  8 min 48 seconds, HD Video

NEW ERA (1.996) is an audiovisual project that reflects on Internet laws, rights and freedom by revisiting "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace," published in 1996 by John Perry Barlow. Recalling twenty-three years later the same issues addressed in Barlow's manifesto, the film ponders the impact of the Internet in our day to day and considers how we are using and constructing it. 

Ana Esteve Reig studied Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid. In 2008 she moved to Kassel, Germany, where she studied Freie Kunst in the Kunsthochschule Kassel before a postgraduate year as Meisterschülerin of the teacher and artist Bjørn Melhus. Since then her work has focused on video. She currently lives and works in Madrid, Spain, where she has garnered prizes such as the Injuve 2011 in Visual Arts, the 2014 Young Award Accesit, and the BBVA Multiverso Videoart 2017 Scholarship. Her work has been exhibited galleries or art institutions in London, Kassel, Berlin, Madrid, and Vienna, and in museums such as the Kasseler Kunstverein Museum and the MOCA Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.

Community Group: Readshop 

Sat. May 15 | 12:15–1:30 pm CST | $Give What You Can

Led by poet and Woodland Pattern co-founder Karl Gartung, Readshops are community sessions dedicated to exploring poetry texts from the 20th century that are often labeled "difficult." Participants take turns reading the poetry aloud, discussing it as questions arise—on the spot, as deeply as needed. No preparation is needed; the only prerequisite is curiosity.

The group is currently reading Nathaniel Mackey’s From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate. This volume collects the first three installments―Bedouin Hornbook, Djbot Baghostus’s Run, and Atet A.D.―of Mackey’s genre-defying work of fiction. A project that began over thirty years ago, From a Broken Bottle is an epistolary novel that unfolds through N.’s intricate letters to the mysterious Angel of Dust. Unexpected, profound happenings take place as N. delves into music and art and the goings-on of his transmorphic Los Angeles-based jazz ensemble, in which he is a composer and instrumentalist. This triple-set book opens in July 1978 with a dream of a haunting Archie Shepp solo, and closes in September 1982 in a parallactic studio recording session on a glass-bottomed boat borne aloft by the music. 

To join this group or learn more, contact Education Director Alexa Nutile below. 


Poetry, Resilience, & Refugee Experience

Part of The First Function of Poetry: A Social Justice Series


Wed. May 19 | 7 pm CDT | $Give What You Can

Discussion + Q & A: Poetry and Refugee Communities

Ahead of their Thursday reading, Dunya Mikhail and Mai Der Vang will discuss the ways in which writing and creative practice can address and articulate the experiences of diasporic and refugee communities.

Wed. May 20 | 7 pm CDT | $Give What You Can

Poetry Reading: Dunya Mikhail and Mai Der Vang

Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq in 1965 and came to the United States in 1996. Her books include In Her Feminine Sign; The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq (2018), which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Literature in Translation; The Iraqi Nights (2014), Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea (2009); and The War Works Hard (2005), all published by New Directions. With them, she also edited a pamphlet of Iraqi poetry titled 15 Iraqi Poets. Her honors include the Kresge Fellowship, the Arab American Book Award, and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. The War Works Hard was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and named one of the New York Public Library’s Twenty-Five Books to Remember from 2005. She is the co-founder of Mesopotamian Forum for Art and Culture in Michigan. She currently works as an Arabic special lecturer at Oakland University in Michigan.

Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award in Poetry, and a finalist for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She was also the co-editor of the anthology How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011). She has been an assistant professor in the Creative Writing MFA Program at Fresno State University since 2019.

Poetry Reading featuring outgoing Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Margaret Rozga, and incoming state Laureate, Dasha Kelly Hamilton, with Juan Felipe Herrera, who served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2015-2016. 

With introductions by Brenda Cárdenas, Nick Demske, and Angela Trudell Vasquez.


Presented with the St. John’s on the Lake, Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, and Bonk!, and made possible with generous support from Wisconsin’s Own Library, a unique collection of Wisconsin authors and illustrators owned by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs – Wisconsin, and with funding provided by the Gwendolyn M. Schultz Charitable Trust

Thur. May 27 | 7 pm CT | $Give What You Can 

As 2019-2020 Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Margaret Rozga co-edited the anthology Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems (Art Night Books, 2020) and the chapbook anthology On the Front Lines / Behind the Lines (pitymilk press, 2021). Her fifth book of poems is Holding My Selves Together: New and Selected Poems (Cornerstone Press, 2021). 

Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist, and creative change agent, applying the creative process to facilitate dialogues around human and social wellness. She is the author of two novels, three poetry collections, four spoken word albums, and one collection of personal vignettes. She has taught at colleges, conferences, and classrooms and curated fellowships for emerging leaders. An Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy, Dasha has facilitated community building initiatives in Botswana, Toronto, Mauritius, and Beirut. Her touring production, Makin’ Cake, uniquely engages communities in a forward dialogue on race, class, and equity. Dasha is a national Rubinger Fellow and, concurrently, Poet Laureate for the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin.

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Every Day We Get More Illegal; Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. His book Jabberwalking, a children’s book focused on turning your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry, came out in 2018. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and Indigenous communities and at-risk youth.



Anne Waldman: Celebrating A Visionary Outrider Life & Poetics—Interviewed by CAConrad

Fri. June 4 | 7 pm CDT | $Give What You Can

During much of the last year Anne Waldman has been working on the book Bard, Kinetic for Coffee House Press, to be published in 2022. Also she has been making video work with Fast Speaking Music in Mexico City with her son Ambrose Bye and his partner Natalia Gaia which includes: “Stepping  Back,” “Activity Demon,” a tribute to John Giorno commissioned by the Pompidou Center in Paris, and “Archivo Litania” in both Spanish and English, created for the Poetry Project Marathon 2021. She is curating the online “Carrier Waves” Naropa University Summer Writing Program: “Reckoning & Future Memory” with Jeffrey Pethybridge in June 2021. Guests will include Ghazal Mosadeq, Ariana Reines, Bernadette Mayer, and features a Diane di Prima symposium with Tongo Eisen-Martin and Ammiel Alcalay. With Emma Gomis, Anne recently created a bi-lingual text Punch In the Gut of a Star (Catalan/English) for a new film in progress by Ed Bowes. Her recent collaboration with artist Nathlie Provosty entitled “All Rainbows in a Brainstem That We Be So Contained” has just been published by Hassla, an art press in NYC. She has participated in BLM protests in Colorado and has been a champion of XR. She is most grateful to the translator Mariano Antolin Rato, & to editor Oyku Tekten for the book MUNDO APARTE (OFF WORLD) which resulted in several memorable performances and extension of artistic & activist community in Granada, Spain and around the world before the pandemic.  

Author of more than 50 publications of poetry, Anne Waldman's most recent books include: Sanctuary (Spuyten Duyvil, 2020), Songs of the Sons and Daughters of Buddha (co-translated with Andrew Schelling, Shambhala, 2020), Trickster Feminism (Penguin Books, 2018), and Extinction Aria (Pied Oxen, 2017). In 2020, she released the album SCIAMACHY (Fast Speaking Music, 2020) with Levy Gorvy Gallery, that includes collaborations with Laurie Anderson, William Parker, Deb Googe, Ambrose Bye, and Devin Brahja Waldman, and which Patti Smith has called a “psychic shield for our time.”

CAConrad has been working with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. They are the author of Amanda Paradise (Wave Books, 2021). Other titles include The Book of Frank, While Standing in Line for Death, and Ecodeviance. They received a Creative Capital grant, a Pew Fellowship, a Lambda Literary Award, and a Believer Magazine Book Award. They teach at Columbia University in New York City and Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam. Visit their website. 

Thank you for an incredible Poetry Marathon! 

On January 30th and 31st of 2021, people joined us from all over for 24 hours of poetry. If you missed out, the whole event is now available for viewing on our site. 

Featured Video: ONE POEM: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives 

On August 18, 2020, the founding members of the Poetry Coalition, a national alliance of more than 25 organizations (including Woodland Pattern), presented a live broadcast ONE POEM: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives via Crowdcast. Please consider giving to organizations and efforts working against injustice, including those recommended by the founding members of the Poetry Coalition here.

The poets featured were Prisca Afantchao, Sojourner Ahebee, Kazim Ali, Kimberly Blaeser, Jericho Brown, Meera Dasgupta, Kwame Dawes, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Safia Elhillo, Martín Espada, Sesshu Foster, Kimberly Jae, Raina J. León, Mwatabu Okantah, Arsimmer McCoy, Alberto Ríos, Terisa Siagatonu, Matthew Thompson, Emma Trelles, Nikki Wallschlaeger (reading on behalf of Woodland Pattern), Monica Youn, and avery r. young.


Woodland Pattern & COVID-19 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have closed our doors for the first time in four decades. During this hiatus from our physical space, we are working to facilitate remote projects and welcome your input and participation. 

While we're closed, we hope you will join us for online book discussions, writing groups, workshops, live poetry performances, and other events. We also invite you to sign up for our newsletter to receive Prompts Against Anxiety—weekly exercises that promote at-home creativity, personal fortitude, and solidarity with others. 

Please take a look around on our new website to take advantage of the various resources here, including  recordings from recent online events. Be sure to also check out ongoing visual art exhibitions and read our statement on racial justice, where you can also find links to anti-racism organizations and educational materials. 

Ordering Books in a Pandemic 

We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present. 

We further acknowledge the grave evil colonialism introduced to these lands ​through genocide as well as slavery, and also via racist and xenophobic ​beliefs, laws​, and practices that continue to inflict harm upon Black, brown, and Indigenous lives. We honor those who have lived—and do live, now—at these intersections of identity and experience, and are committed to the active dismantling of white supremacy.

Read our statement on racial justice

720 E. Locust Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414 263 5001

Hours: Tues–Fri | 11-8pm

Sat & Sun | 12–5 pm | Closed Mon

Contactless pick-up: Wed–Fri | 2–6 pm, Sat | 2–5 pm

Building Accessibility: Despite the age of our physical location, and attendant limitations to access, Woodland Pattern is committed to making its programs and facilities available for as many as possible. Please call for more information.

Events Accessibility: Woodland Pattern is able to offer captioning services for its online events and with advanced notice can provide ASL interpretation for live events. Please contact us with accommodation requests and questions.

© Woodland Pattern 2020