• 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
March 18 - Apr 3

Closed but Open (Here’s How)! 

Books + Events + More

readings & workshops
April 4

Virtual Poetry Reading: Mónica de la Torre + José Felipe Alvergue

readings & workshops
April 4

Virtual Workshop with Mónica de la Torre

readings & workshops
April 10

Virtual Poetry Reading: Marilyn Chin

film & video
April 17

Virtual Film Screening: The Collection

readings & workshops
April 19 - May 10

Intergenerational Self-Collaboration: A Multi-Arts Workshop with Paul McComas

Archived readings & workshops
Jan 11 January 11 - January 11
1:00pm, $100 General | $90 Member

Unfortunately, Carlos Lara workshop has been canceled.

We have rescheduled it for May 17, 2020. Please stay tuned for more information.


A poetry workshop with Carlos Lara

at the Mitchell Street Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library—906 W Historic Mitchell St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

*Space is limited, so please register in advance by calling Woodland Pattern at 414-263-5001*


NO MATERIAL: AN ABSOLUTION

 

“And no doubt that once again, my friends, we leave the substance for the shadow; perhaps we question the abyss in vain. But it's the shadow, but it's the silence that we pursue for all eternity, but it's the grand failure that endures.” - Louis Aragon 

 

“False wisdom is still real wisdom.” - Michael Keenan 

 

Poetry: a willingness to live in the moment of the imaginary beheading of earthly definition.

 

We are not merely creating something, but creating something within THE primary creation, the building of new sensations, new presences, new osmotic goats, new sonograms of cloaked creatures, new outlandish ghost fervors, which may be all one and the same, who knows. Not taking the medium for granted, such as those who see it as mere externality, we destroy and rebuild the medium in the space of one phrase to another, in the space of one moment to another, as the moment and the word and the dream are unified forevermore/nevermore. What no one knows.

 

Poetry: worlds wear away. 

 

Being alive, to us, remains an insincerity and perhaps the only insincerity. The inescapable alchemy of remaining alive is rooted in the fact of a necessitous compulsion toward being, or even nonbeing. Having had no other option but one’s sporadic appearance in the world is hardly enough to justify individual existence or any mode of existence. It’s disappointing that more contemporary poets aren’t in prison, the asylum, or the graveyard. The thing isn’t done until it burns you alive entirely. 

 

Poetry: lyrical indecision / darkened gift / silent disappearance. 

 

For those to whom exactitude of feeling means less than sensorial flooding: that nuance can be vague. That nuance can be a scalding tone, or a shadow over the globe, or a coffin full of incestuous crows. And that ambiguity is the result of liberty and the way to beauty. 


Poetry: green horses hang upside down. 

 

So you write your poems, or you don’t write your poems, and you separate yourself from the language, or you don’t separate yourself from the language, but either way you are thinking. And this is the frame that has grown larger than the picture. The organic matrix of our preconceived notions and living notions of perception and self-reflexive identification. But we all know that poetry isn’t real. We have known that poetry isn’t real. We’re playing 

with shadows, and some of us are more adept at making shadows into shadows. Instead of the basic reaction to shadow, instead of having a desire to form, we simply form and let the darkness play upon itself. Let the shadow overwhelm the light, as it does and always must. 

 

Poetry: and what if I consider daylight sacred spillage? 

 

Nomaterialism liberates nothing. It prevents every single thing (all forms and substances), real and imaginary (as if there were a difference! wouldn’t that be convenient!), from becoming nothing. It is the fulcrum of reasonable interpretation and dreamlike creation (solar cobras? endless journeys to generic isolation?). And beyond that we fall into rote mnemonics of “other dimensions.” So if one is lucky, one realizes that one is trapped. And worse than that, but luckier, one realizes that one is trapped by being trapped. No material. 

 

Poetry: the caliginous as instruction. 

 

This is the work of silent disappearance. In the cloud of perpetuity. Yes, the world is all that is the case. The world is all that is the insectivorous dream of pure feeding: a louse. The dream of pure feeding is the case, and every body is the goblet of uncorrupted blood / blood / blood / [yawn]. 

 

One has to say it, though, through hands cupped to one’s face, through tears, through clenched teeth and laughter, through moans and shuddering. One still has to say it: I know everything there is to know / I know what you don't and never will / We know what you'll never even dream / We know what you could never even begin to dream / The dark knows more than all. 

 

No Material: no material. 


Part of our series Unwriting Borders: Latinx Voices in the U.S., curated by Roberto Harrison. Presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Public Library, and supported by a grant from the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.