South of Lake Superior, a Culture Center

Located in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood, Woodland Pattern is a poet- and artist-run nonprofit book center, gallery, and performance space. Each year, we present over 400 programmatic activities and events.

Our goals are to promote a lifetime practice of reading and writing; to serve as a forum and resource center for poets and other artists in our region; to encourage collaboration and exchange across the literary, sonic, and visual arts; and to act as a bridge between local and national communities of poets and other artists.  


Dedicated to the discovery, cultivation, and presentation of poetry and the arts—since 1980.


Supporting Small-Press & DIY Publishers

Our book center holds a carefully curated and internationally recognized collection of approximately 25,000 titles of poetry, small-press literature, and ephemera, including limited-run broadsides, chapbooks, zines, and other hand-made items, many produced in conjunction with our programs. We are also home to the largest collection of haiku in North America, the largest Native American section in Wisconsin, and our collection of contemporary poetry is the most comprehensive of its kind available for purchase in the U.S. 


In many communities, there are generators of imagination that connect us to the arts and to each others' stories of humanity. Woodland Pattern is that place for Howard Leu and me.

—Chelsea Wait



A Forum for Poets & Artists

For more than forty years, Woodland Pattern has acted as a bridge between local and national communities of poets, artists, and musicians while offering a space for people in our immediate community to gather, learn, perform, share ideas, and build relationships that make us stronger. 


A welcoming, inviting, and invigorating place to be.

—Janine Arseneau

Promoting a Lifetime Practice of Reading & Writing

In addition to hosting poetry readings, concerts, film screenings, and exhibitions, Woodland Pattern offers year-round educational opportunities in creative writing and related arts for people of all ages—from after-school programs and summer poetry camps for children and youth to book discussions, writing groups, and workshops for adults.


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–Sun | 12-7 pm

Closed Mon

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 2024