• 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
April 6 - Sep 28

Book Club: Readshops led by Karl Gartung

readings & workshops
July 3 - Sep 25

Dhamma MKE

exhibitions
August 1 - Sep 26

The Point Being: Works by Thomas Gaudynski

special events
September 21

¡Palante!: A Celebration of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture

readings & workshops
September 22 - Oct 13

Friction in Fiction: Developing Characters and Conflict

readings & workshops
September 26

Poetry Reading: Jake Skeets & Manny Loley

readings & workshops
September 26

Poem as Field – Understanding Energy in Poetry a craft talk with Jake Skeets

readings & workshops
October 2

Poetry Reading: Alan Bernheimer & Karl Gartung

readings & workshops
October 16

Poetry Reading: Timothy Donnelly & Bethany Price

performances
October 17

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
October 19

Language as a Playground

readings & workshops
October 20

Reading: Peter Markus

readings & workshops
October 22 - Dec 31

Welcome Home!: A Veterans Writing Group

readings & workshops
October 23

Reading and Book Launch: Kathie Giorgio

readings & workshops
October 24

Urban Echo Poets

readings & workshops
October 27

Submitathon

readings & workshops
November 1

Reading and Screening: Trisha Low, Stephanie Young, and Zachary Epcar

readings & workshops
November 10 - Dec 8

Shifty Subjects and Unexpected Endings

special events
November 16

39th Anniversary Gala

John Tipton

John Tipton has two books, a translation of Sophocles' Ajax and surfaces, a collection of his own verse, both published by Flood Editions. A translation of Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes and a new collection, Paramnesia, are forthcoming from Flood. He lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie and son Levi.

Selected Poems

The Underworld

Theseus finds himself detained in strange surroundings.
Seems there's some problem with his visa.
He sits alone in a drab room
with no idea where they've taken Pirithous.
Through filthy windows he can see Shenzhen—
preposterous architecture against a gray rinsed sky;
the haze today thickened by a hangover
from last night's Tsingtao plied with 'ganbei.'

Theseus studies water blots that cloud the ceiling
and reads them as rhinos on stampede.
How different the sign on the door
whose Hanzi characters squint inscrutably at him.
The artifice of his wakeful state distorts
these odd mnemonics he mistakes for thought.

 

 

Crossroads

Xerxes the King frowns through dark glasses
flanked on the viewing stand by admirals
and the bloated eunuchs of his staff.
Newsreel film crews crowd a nearby platform
documenting this day's events for all Persia.
In line along the beach before him
the piked heads of his former engineers—
Egyptians and Phoenicians whose bridge had failed.

But Xerxes would also punish these waters— he will not sacrifice to this stream.
At a subtle gesture of his hand
the countdown begins its descent toward detonation.
The device triggers on zero. Xerxes glares.
Over the atoll a small sun flares.

 

 

Bridgless


They stood dumb beneath the beetling jungle
in black Chuck Taylors and white t-shirts

come to preach across the bridge less waters
at a buckle in the brown Curaray.

These Americans call the place Palm Beach,
address its people with a Quechua slur.

Over the river on the opposite shore
Benjamin Whorf attempts to deliver a message.

Slowed by the air his words decompose,
break into original utterance and primitive sound.

They float like the yellow Piper aircraft
that descends through the Neolithic into Ecuador.

Reformed as the remote Aramaic of Jesus
they assemble into gospels of approximate myth.

The Huaorani men will kill these missionaries
then strip the Piper's wings of fabric.

They'll circle that artifact on the sand,
its frame laid bare in formal relief.

Together they will thicken syllables into song
into the hidden figures of their memories

into what sounds old whenever they sing
word for word what no radio transmits.