• 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

Emily Warn

Emily Warn is a poet, essayist, teacher, and technologist who most recently served as founding editor of poetryfoundation.org. Born in San Francisco and raised in Michigan, she is the author of three books of poetry:The Leaf Path (1982),The Novice Insomniac(1996) and Shadow Architect (2008). Her essays and poems appear widely, including in Poetry, BookForum,Blackbird, Parabola, The Forward, Narrative, The Seattle Times, and The Writers' Almanac. She taught creative writing at Lynchburg College and The Bush School, and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She currently divides her time between Seattle and Twisp, Washington.

Selected Poems

Ox Herding Lesson


Emily Warn

 

The road bends away
               from the sea,
                            meandering
through salt meadow hay.
You walk along singing
               on the road of white sand
                            dug from the marsh,
the sea a hushed roar in the distance
where the forge of waves
                          levels the sand,
spilling its molten silver
              at the sandpipers' feet
                           that scurry, jotting it all down.

Just ahead of you on the road
is an egret, perfectly still,
              perfectly white
and shaped like a lamed,
the only letter with its top
                         in the clouds,
the only letter that leans
            like marsh grass,
one eye cocked on ditch water,
             the other on clouds—
                          white feathers,
                                       aloft yet earthbound.

The egret is dwarfed by salt marsh,
              which stretches far, far
                                                     away,
a wind-flattened white sea of grass
with islands of scraggly myrtles
                                                     rising
from it. And dwarf cedars whose outer needles burn
                          to protect the living sap.

Egrets can stand so still among reeds
                            that fish mistake their legs for grass.
Why then is this one in the road
             when ditches on either side teem
                                           with minnows?

You sit down on hot gravel to ask
                                         and hear
the egret listening to you
              pierce and swallow
                            the atmosphere of fishes and clouds.