• 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
readings & workshops
April 6 - Sep 28

Book Club: Readshops led by Karl Gartung

readings & workshops
July 3 - Sep 25

Dhamma MKE

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

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


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

Elizabeth Arnold

Winner of an Amy Lowell scholarship, a Whiting Writer's award, and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center, Yaddo, and MacDowell, Elizabeth Arnold has published four books of poetry, The Reef (1999), Civilization (2006), Effacement (2010), and Life (2014). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Paris Review, Poetry, Slate, Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, and The Nation. As a Ph.D. student, she discovered an unpublished novel by the British poet, Mina Loy, which was published by Black Sparrow Press in 1990. She teaches on the MFA faculty of University of Maryland.

Selected Poems

Flow Dynamics

So lightly and invisibly I hardly knew it,

river of blood descending without joy back to the heart
through the frail vein all that time

—the largest of the body!—

shredded then dissolved ("obliterated")
and there was a sudden seepage

into surrounding tissue

instead of the blood pouring out as you'd expect forever,
and a new vein formed to bypass what was gone

like a wide meander

even the smallest flood ends, and the river
goes straight from that point.

But in my case the thin-walled base-ends held

forming an anabranch, a section of the river
that diverts from the main channel,

rejoins it downstream.

Local ones can be caused by or make
small islands in the watercourse

but sometimes they flow hundreds of miles

like the Bahr el Zeraf in the south Sudan that splits from the
Bahr al Jabal of the White Nile, doesn't return

until Malakal

instead of leaving behind,
as it could have with the blood being old,

a full-fledged oxbow lake

that before too long
will blister in the sun, become

a little blue scar beside the heart


What Is A Person

capable of feeling
while in contact with another

—to interface that way with god?

I look at the red-tiled roofs outside,
at all the angles

facing the white-blue cloudless sky

like the creases in Bellini's angel's
silver-blue dress, Tintoretto's white one

that's practically transparent in his

Annunciazione at the San Rocco
—cloth complex as thought!

Then the bells start, flood the void.



The Hoopoe

It was an accident
a few days after the mother bird,

having not that long ago flown north

across the Mediterranean,
pecked at the window

every morning for a week,

one facing the other
like two portholes in my attic room,

so angrily it seemed

at the threat she saw (herself)
threatening her chicks,

one of which, grown, flew

quick as bats darting all around the trees
and outbuildings of this

Tuscan medieval castle

the night you called from Egypt,
your voice a dim light barely getting through

the atmosphere

of the great hall the valley makes
—right through my room


but in this case the long
downwardly curve-beaked hoopoe

exited the morning

with its sparkling off the vines' leaves hiding
the fragile grapes

and the olives' dull leaves even

—out of that, back into.