• 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

Cole Swensen

Cole Swensen is a poet whose fifteen books of poetry often respond to or incorporate elements or works of visual art; recent books address 17th century French baroque gardens and the window paintings of Pierre Bonnard, while an upcoming book is based on landscapes seen from train windows accompanied by photographs of the same. Her books have won the SF State Poetry Center Book Award, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and the National Poetry Series and have been finalists twice for the LA Times Book Award and once for the National Book Award. She teaches at Brown University and divides her time between Providence RI and Paris, France.

Selected Poems

Virginia Woolf: Street Haunting

If shadows come in groves     Virginia Woolf preferred     London in the dark
of an afternoon whose pale islands move from lamp to lamp, anonymous beneath

and then a grove of sun   slanting to the last   as if in walking on   a tribe of them
was made.   Virginia Woolf liked the silence of the hurrying forms  hurrying home

dressed in cold.   As a city, all is surface   or a succession of surfaces that change
texture and color, all its greys upon a grey   filtered in shadow   amber to a window

climbing as does the gaze     that glanced above the trees     a window's other lights
and these     as if we, turning over or around     a slower hour     held the hour back

 

Lamps

by which we are released.     As by the dark, we sign away
a certain hold that held us toward     or lease untied.    We

catalogue the many kinds of light:  one surrounds, a warm
hand turns to a face     as a face        glides through its pool

and other streetlights white     like those that cut across

Green Park deepening the dusk.     In Woolf's day they
would have been lit by a lamp-lighter who rode up on a

bicycle with a ladder over his arm.   He leaned it against
the lamppost, climbed up, turned a valve, and moved on

to the next, and so on, until he suddenly turns off the path
and cuts across the grass, bicycling through the dark.

 

Windows

also walk within     a different break of light   the warmth of it again  pouring out across
the street. An amber almost rose        sifting through the leaves      that screen a private,

maybe even empty        world in which we watch      a single finger rise and etch
with a fingernail       in which a diamond is set     a name on the other side of the glass.

We tear ourselves     away at once     apart     we turn     from a great weight     back
into the crowd in the greater height of anonymity and cold.