• 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 15 Sunday, May 15
7:00pm, $Give What You Can

Join us to celebrate the publication of Barbara Wuest's Shadowy Third (Aldrich Press, 2016) and Suzanne Scanlon's Her 37th Year, An Index (Noemi Press, 2015)!



Barbara Wuest has published poems in several journals, including The Paris Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Cincinnati Review, CrossCurrents, Oberon, The Laurel Review, The Wisconsin Academy Review, Wind, Dogwood, and others. She has a chapbook published by Finishing Line Press 2015 entitled Among Others. She taught English and Creative Writing at Cardinal Stritch University. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of California, Irvine.






Suzanne Scanlon is the author of Promising Young Women (Dorothy, 2012) and Her 37th Year, An Index (Noemi, 2015). She lives in Chicago and teaches in the creative writing programs of Columbia College and Roosevelt University.







Ginkgo Leaf


Not a fan you can cool yourself with

or one your mother can use to chase

away flies that disturb the peace she

longs for, evenings on the porch swing.

You can only enjoy the shimmer of lines

lines running so near one another they’re

about to meet, only marvel at the stem’s

upper edge that guards the invisible source

where all the lines begin, only twirl the small

wonder the Chinese think sacred, uttering

the string-played name of ginkgo, ginkgo.


Autumn Loneliness


It’s always about the glory of loss, prettiness,

about color warmer than anything you can say.

Yet, in the middle of the day, by myself and

knowing it so completely I end up shivering in

this warmest of falls, questions being alive asks

pounding from the core of my heart, not my

real heart, slowed now from quiet, but that

second heart all children expose in tantrums,

the one visiting constantly, saying under each

breath you take you are you the only you...





I believe in sons and daughters going

through the cities’ turnstiles, through

the ivy archways of small, quiet towns,

some staying like stray pollen, others

leaving with their luggage full of failure

and maps to places it might not be.

I believe the striations in the sky after rain

call the least of us to flights

we don’t have wings enough to make.

And that we all end up in our own

closets of guilty self-respect whether

forced to land on cement or open field.

When the subway roars under my feet

I know my own blood bullets through me

with that same rage to get somewhere.

And I believe the heat from this speed

means at least you’re alive, for now,

and at least I’m disturbed beyond

my perfect cycle, my song, at least.


from “Mass”





Like a good student, Roxana books the sitter, makes dinner reservations, and buys theater tickets. Beckett's Krapp’s Last Tape, at the big theater downtown. It’s old and gaudy, all chandeliers and red velvet. They sit in the soft seats, the first ones in their row. Looking around as the audience filters in, Robert remarks on how youthful he feels among this particular crowd.

“We may be the only two under 40!” he declares.

Roxana listens to two women behind her, pre-theater chat. One wears a perfume that brings to mind a long lost aunt who used to kiss Roxana and her sisters goodbye, whispering, I’ll see you in my dreams!

“He’s trying to set me up with his brother. But his brother is older than he is!”

“What is he, 104?”

“I guess. I don’t need that. I don’t need to take care of someone.”

“No, you don’t. You need someone younger than you.”

“Yes. I need a companion.”


“It’s the loneliness. The loneliness is awful.”


“And it doesn’t get better."


“It doesn’t get better. Listen, I’ll tell you—the loneliness is the shits. It’s the shits!”

“And there’s nothing to be done about it.”

“No. As my friend Ronnie says, It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”


At the office, Debbie, a tall redhead who seems permanently stoned, wants to include Roxana in an informal poll:

“Okay. So your husband comes to you and says, ‘Honey, I slept with someone.” Would you rather he say, like Mark Sanford, “And she’s my soulmate” --

“Oh dear God.”

“--Or, like Eliot Spitzer, he says, and she’s a prostitute.”


“Nope. Pick one.”

The table in the lunchroom is full of treats: chocolates, Oreos, banana bread and ginger snaps. Roxana takes a bite of a cookie, crumbs fall onto her sweater. She smiles when Debbie says again, “Well?” shakes her head and shrugs.


from To Speak of the Woe That Is In Marriage By Robert Lowell