Jul 09 2024


6:30 pm


$Give What You Can

Poetry Reading: Poetry in the Park *IN PERSON*

Bring your blankets and chairs, snacks and drinks, and friends, and join us at the Solomon Juneau statue for this beloved summer reading series, now entering its tenth year. Poetry in the Park takes place in Juneau Park on the second Tuesday of the summer months (with rain dates on the second Wednesday of the month). This season of outdoor readings are made possible with support from Juneau Park Friends and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In person at Juneau Park, 900 N. Prospect Ave.



July's event features readings from Steven Espada Dawson, Ajamou Butler, Margaret Rozga, and 2024-25 Milwaukee Youth Poet Laureate Aleena Ahmed.

Steven Espada Dawson is from East Los Angeles. The son of a Mexican immigrant, he is a former Ruth Lilly Fellow and Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellow. His poems appear in many journals and have been anthologized in Best New Poets, Pushcart Prize, and Sarabande’s Another Last Call. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he serves as Poet Laureate.

Ajamou Butler is a motivational speaker, a community activist, educator, spoken word artist, and most importantly, a father. His most recent awards and accomplishments include a 2-year contract with Marquette University Upward Bound teaching a creative writing course, being awarded by Madison365 as one of the 2017 top 35 most influential African Americans in Wisconsin, and his continued partnership with the city-wide school district of La Crosse, WI. He was inspired to write Destined To Be Me after he discovered the startling data about the lack of representation of Black and Brown children in children’s books. After founding Heal the Hood MKE in 2012, Ajamou committed himself to creating positive and uplifting images of Black and Brown people living in inner city communities. As a Milwaukee native, he has spent more than half of his life working in and serving the community and people that he loves. 

Margaret Rozga served as the 2019–20 Wisconsin Poet Laureate and the 2021 inaugural artist/scholar in residence at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee at Waukesha Field Station. Her book of poems inspired by the Field Station is Restoring Prairie (Cornerstone Press, 2024). Cornerstone also published her fifth book, Holding My Selves Together: New and Selected Poems (2021).

Born in New York, Aleena Ahmed, a Bengali-American poet and a student at Nicolet High School, was recently selected to serve as the 2024–25 Milwaukee Youth Poet Laureate. Aleena has lived in both America and Bangladesh, where she has found home in the sound of rain and freshly cut coconuts. Although she is an only child, Aleena always had an abundance of extended family and cousins where she grew up, surrounded with lively, passionate conversation and a vibrant home atmosphere. Aleena’s multicultural upbringing has greatly influenced her perspective as a writer and deepened her appreciation of her identity. While she adores the arts in every form, Aleena has found herself most intrigued by poetry, where she seeks to push and bend the boundaries of language. Aleena hopes to inspire other young women such as herself, and demonstrate the power of language as a tool to challenge conventional thought.

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