• 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 - 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

exhibitions
February 11 - Apr 5

Tarot: The (Re)Making of a Language

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.

exhibitions
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

performances
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

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.