• 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

performances
February 20

Formations Series for New and Improvised Music

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

Jim Chapson

2012-2015 Milwaukee Poet Laureate Jim Chapson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1944 and educated at San Francisco State University. He has lived in Milwaukee since 1976, and teaches creative writing at UWM. His most recent books are Daphnis & Ratboy, Scholia, and Plotinus Blushed (Arlen House, 2013). He has poems in the recent anthology Jack London is Dead: Contemporary Euro-American Poetry of Hawai'i (Tinfish Press, 2013).

He has neither a dog nor a cat; neither tropical fish nor parakeets. He has never held an elective office, and for as far back as he can remember he has not been living in Paris.

Selected Poems

Curiosity


Jim Chapson

 

The mars-lander Curiosity has landed
in a landscape, scientists say,
remarkably like one of earth's deserts.

Getting there required
the perfect functioning
of an elaborate mechanism:
the descent with the heat-shield
jettisoned at the right moment,
the giant parachute deployed
then released, the retro-rockets firing,
the winching down by cables
from a sky-crane
which then takes off—a sequence
so bizarre only a child
could have imagined it, only
obsessive engineers made it work.

And so our Curiosity is now on Mars,
our careful attention, our
desire to know, our
inquisitiveness
which leads us always elsewhere.

We might discover water,
or evidence that water once was there
which might mean life
existed once and may have left
some traces still.

However, there are rumors life
existed once on earth
and left some traces here;
we might discover whether
it could be here still,
but we prefer to keep
our Curiosity on Mars,
where it will rove for years—
a useless if remarkably ingenious
piece of human workmanship;
in fact, a curiosity.