• 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

Bill Berkson

Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet, critic, teacher and sometime curator, who has been active in the art and literary worlds since his early twenties. Director of Letters and Science at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1993 to 1998, he taught art history, critical writing and poetry and directed the public lectures program there from 1984 to 2007. He studied at Trinity School, The Lawrenceville School, Brown University, Columbia, the New School and New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. 

He is the author of several books and pamphlets of poetry—including, most recently, Gloria, a portfolio of poems with etchings by Alex Katz (Arion Press, 2005), Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently (The Owl Press, 2007) and Goods and Services (Blue Press, 2008). Other recent books are What's Your Idea of a Good Time: Letters & Interviews 1977-1985 with Bernadette Mayer (Tuumba Press, 2006; BILL with drawings by Colter Jacobsen; and Ted Berrigan with George Schneeman. A collection of his criticism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings, appeared in 2004, and Sudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981-2006 in 2007.Portrait and Dream: Selected Poems 1959-2008 will appear from Coffee House Press in Spring 2009

Selected Poems

Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently


Bill Berkson

 

You hope the Earth is equitable,
Because why else are you here,
Fraught with the extra time
And sure-fire energy, clear
And in the same breath, not.

Garbage, detritus, commandeers
Much of each day,
But materiality doesn't look that way to a peanut
Nor yet at us, prey as we seem to be
To the intimate void granted to assuage the even bigger abyss without.

Beams keep solvent if unpolished in
Amassed yearly vaultings.
Crumbs and contouring in an antique frame
Compound the sands they shift and bear the foot
Traffic along its jagged route.

Old Walkway, you who are traditionally mistaken about
Your portion of this well-whittled master plan,
How phenomena lodge
In every filter and grander
Conceptions dance the Life-form Jack.

Sorry about what passes as fact
In emboldened dot patterns, extended fingerings
Like Norway's prettiest tree
Against clouds' residual entertainment brought home
To meet our obligations should pockets fail.