• 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
readings & workshops
April 6 - Jun 27

Book Club: Readshops led by Karl Gartung

readings & workshops
July 3 - Jun 30

Dhamma MKE

readings & workshops
October 22 - Jun 24

Welcome Home!: A Veterans Writing Group

readings & workshops
February 2 -23

Three Windows into Writing and Revising a Poem with Kathleen A. Dale

February 11 - Apr 5

Tarot: The (Re)Making of a Language

February 20

Formations Series for New and Improvised Music

readings & workshops
February 26

Poetry Reading: Jennifer Elise Foerster + Zoë Johnson

readings & workshops
February 26

Seeing in Invisibility: Poetry as revelation at UWM Libraries Special Collections

readings & workshops
February 27

Urban Echo Poets

readings & workshops
February 29

Visionary Narratives: A Workshop in Drawing Inspiration with Laurence Ross.

February 29

Reception for Tarot: The (Re)Making of a Language

readings & workshops
March 1 -29

On the Front Lines, Behind the Lines: Writing Protest Poetry with Margaret Rozga.

film & video
March 6

aCinema Screening

readings & workshops
March 12

Creative Confluence: Research for Hybrid Writing, a conversation with Heid E. Erdrich

readings & workshops
March 12

Poetry Reading: Heid E. Erdrich

readings & workshops
March 14

Poetry & Pi(e) featuring Vida Cross + Chuck Stebelton

March 19

Formations Series for New and Improvised Music

readings & workshops
March 20

Poetry Reading: Mark Bibbins + Elizabeth Hoover

readings & workshops
March 26

Poetry Reading: Eli Goldblatt + Charles Alexander

readings & workshops
March 28

Poetry Reading: Tara Betts + Jennifer Steele

Archived readings & workshops
May 7 Saturday, May 7
7:00pm, $Give What You Can


Chris Martin is the author of The Falling Down Dance (Coffee House, 2015), Becoming Weather (Coffee House, 2011), and American Music (Copper Canyon, 2007) chosen by C. D. Wright for the Hayden Carruth Award. He’s been a writer-in-residence at the Minnesota History Center's Gale Library, a Bartos Fellow at United World College, and a reader-in-residence at the South Minneapolis Society Library, where he now helps edit the expandable publishing platform Society. In 2015 he co-founded Unrestricted Interest, a consultancy and writing program dedicated to transforming the lives of autistic writers. He also teaches at The Loft Literary Center and is a visiting assistant professor at Carleton College. 



Poet and book designer, Mary Austin Speaker, is the author of numerous books and chapbooks, including The Bridge(Shearsman, 2016) and Ceremony (Slope Editions, 2013). While living in New York City, Speaker cofounded Triptych Readings and curated Reading Between A & B poetry series for its last four seasons. She was Poetry Editor of Indiana Review; and has taught writing at Indiana University, Kirkwood Community College, and the Jackson Hole Writers Conference. She taught book design at the Iowa Young Writers Studio, and was recently a Bartos Fellow at the United World College in New Mexico, where she taught a workshop in documentary poetics. She runs a design studio in Minneapolis, and regularly designs books for Milkweed Editions, The Song Cave, WW Norton, HarperCollins, Alice James Books and others.



the city recedes into mist

snow fails to mark the ground

but wraps her ghostly arms around

Manhattan's proud tall spires

a tiny boat is moored

just off the shore

the city drops

back into lore

it is 9:32 AM

in the morning after

the machine age

left us

just enough to change us

so that we might never

be alone

so America

solicits the east

solicits the east

a throng of stopped cranes

nosing an empty sky
there is a vibrancy

in pools of light

and this is not


it’s a prism

radiating out


thrown open

on a soot-covered hearth  

and the city recedes into mist.


Mary Austin Speaker, from The Bridge


note on The Bridge:

I wrote these poems in the months preceding my departure from New York after more than a decade living there. Each of these poems was composed on the subway while riding over the Manhattan Bridge. Because I worked in Manhattan and lived in Brooklyn, I rode across the bridge twice a day. I wrote a poem each time I crossed it.




In the underlit kitchen

where I feel myself gather

like mercury

a sense of evil, cinematic

flowering, following

the denial of the multiple within

and calling that a person

I’m only

making coffee. It’s December

in the year of the cicada. Exoskeletal

song of collapse and expansion. The year

our unreadiness took root

and budded true

joy, threaded at all times

by the fear of meaning. I mean

we had a baby. We named him after

a lawyer. 7:14 am and sun just

coming up over the trees

and dusted roofs to rest

on the igloo of the Chrysler

Concorde, sculpture we’ve come

to accept. 28 below. The sun’s curved

blade feels limp against the wind.

In the other room you’re

drinking milk, you’re giving milk, my

two yous. And given the blizzard

I can see how it’s also the year of that eerie

blank animal

liquid: ukulele milk, boredom

milk, milk

of the taxi cab and milk of

the hermit crab. Radiator milk, Netflix

milk, milk of a thousand downloads

and broken health care. Free

milk of hospitality, milk of the neighborhoods

we can’t or won’t

afford, and endless milk

of sun melting snow, sending all that white

back to heaven, leaving us

to slosh through clear, cold puddles.

Drinking and giving, sleeping

and crying. Black milk

of the Meters LP teaching you

the beat, how to bounce, so maybe milk

is time after all, intravenous

drip keeping this troubled

sapience apace

in the year of Frank

Ocean. So much

father’s milk I feel like an empty truck.

Each week I erase more

milky stalagmites from behind

the nursery curtains, grown

thick against a bitter

freeze, but little Atticus

throbs with brown fat, globby

ingots known

only to babies and bears, sleepers

who can’t shiver. He is poor

but rich in proton leaks and capillaries, white

gold and brown fat, flush

and rosy on the coldest of nights

in the year of foreclosure. Steady milk of Jay

Rock’s verse on Money

Trees. Milk

of composure, of despair.

The year of trying

to be

at the very least


Chris Martin