• 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 - Jun 27

Book Club: Readshops led by Karl Gartung

readings & workshops
July 3 - Dec 30

Dhamma MKE

readings & workshops
October 22 - Dec 31

Welcome Home!: A Veterans Writing Group

December 8 - Jan 25

To Sight's Limit

December 19

Formations Series for New and Improvised Music

December 23 - Jan 1


special events
January 25 -26

26th Annual Poetry Marathon and Benefit

special events
Jan 25 January 25 - January 26
10:00am, $10 all day access | FREE entry for readers, and for those who pledge a reader for $40 or more


It’s nearly time for Woodland Pattern’s 26th Annual Poetry Marathon and Benefit! We hope that you’ll consider joining the hundreds of poets, writers, and community members from Milwaukee and beyond who set up camp at the book center for this day-long celebration of poetry and performance. The marathon has become an important cultural tradition not only for Woodland Pattern but for Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood and for writers from around the Great Lakes region. To sustain you through 15 hours of performances by 150 poets, food will be served throughout the day!


The Poetry Marathon is a community fundraiser where readers find sponsors to pledge a minimum total of $40 to Woodland Pattern on their behalf. As a reader the pledge minimum is not meant as an entry fee that you pay, but rather as a fundraising goal to be met by asking friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and others to contribute.


If you’ve never participated in a fundraiser before, don’t worry. We have lots of tips and strategies to help you meet or even exceed your $40 minimum goal! The three readers who raise the most in pledges will receive special prizes ($100, $50, and $25 gift certificates to Woodland Pattern, plus a limited-edition Woodland Pattern T-shirt and tote). 


All pledges raised by readers will be matched by a major sponsor for each hour of the marathon. Together these funds will provide vital support for over 300 arts and educational programs in 2020. 

This year, on our 40th anniversary, we’re asking Marathon readers to raise $40 in pledges, an extra five dollars than in previous years. Why? We haven’t raised pledge goals in a decade, and in that time all sorts of costs that the Poetry Marathon helps cover have gone up exponentially. 

For example:

  • Just in the past five years, the cost to provide healthcare for our staff has nearly quadrupled
  • Liability insurance covering our building in the event of a fire and our organization in the event of an accident has gone up by more than 25% since 2010
  • Other expenses too—utilities like water and electricity, printing and postage costs to produce our mailers, and technologies we rely on to run our payroll, manage our inventory, and maintain our donor database—have likewise all increased dramatically over the past decade

In order to meet the financial challenges of operating Woodland Pattern in 2020 as opposed to 2010, we’re asking for your help this year by seeking out an extra $5 in pledges. Thank you in advance for helping us to raise these critical funds that sustain us.

Reader registration opens on Sunday, December 1st! We’re so excited for you to share your writing, and greatly appreciate your support. 


How to sign up as a reader: For additional information or to sign up as a reader, call us at 414-263-5001 or stop by the book center at 720 E. Locust Street in Riverwest. Deadline for reader sign-up is Friday, January 17th.


Underwriting Opportunities: Each hour of the marathon is matched by a major sponsor. To underwrite an hour of the Marathon, contact Literary Program Director Michael Wendt at michaelw@woodlandpattern.org, or call the center’s main line.


Sponsor a reader: If you’d like to help readers raise funds, consider a “Pledge a Reader” donation. Money received through these donations will go directly to a poet who is unable to meet the $40 minimum pledge goal. This is a great way to support Woodland Pattern AND a local artist—win-win!


Pledge a reader online here:

Reader's Name: