• 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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performances
April 19

Alash Ensemble

special events
April 21

Join us for the 13th annual RIVERWEST FOLLIES variety show

performances
April 22

ACL presents Renee Baker Quartet, Visual Dark Scratch Suite

exhibitions
April 22

Woman: Frailty Thy Name, works by Renee Baker

readings & workshops
April 25

Reading: Toni Jensen

readings & workshops
April 26

Four Milwaukee Poets: Alix Anne Shaw with Annie Grizzle, Sam Pekarske & Bethany Price

readings & workshops
April 28

Wisconsin Reads: Reading with Louise Erdrich (video streamed to Woodland Pattern)

readings & workshops
May 2

Poetry Reading: Rena Priest and Denise Low

readings & workshops
May 2

Craft Talk with Denise Low at UWM

readings & workshops
May 10

Birds in Poetry at Urban Ecology Center

performances
May 13

Alternating Currents Live presents: The Transatlantic Bridge #11

readings & workshops
May 16

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series Noel Pabillo Mariano

performances
May 17

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
May 24

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets

performances
June 3

ACL presents: Tom Hamilton & City of Vorticity

Bill Berkson

Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet, critic, teacher and sometime curator, who has been active in the art and literary worlds since his early twenties. Director of Letters and Science at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1993 to 1998, he taught art history, critical writing and poetry and directed the public lectures program there from 1984 to 2007. He studied at Trinity School, The Lawrenceville School, Brown University, Columbia, the New School and New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. 

He is the author of several books and pamphlets of poetry—including, most recently, Gloria, a portfolio of poems with etchings by Alex Katz (Arion Press, 2005), Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently (The Owl Press, 2007) and Goods and Services (Blue Press, 2008). Other recent books are What's Your Idea of a Good Time: Letters & Interviews 1977-1985 with Bernadette Mayer (Tuumba Press, 2006; BILL with drawings by Colter Jacobsen; and Ted Berrigan with George Schneeman. A collection of his criticism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings, appeared in 2004, and Sudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981-2006 in 2007.Portrait and Dream: Selected Poems 1959-2008 will appear from Coffee House Press in Spring 2009

Selected Poems

Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently


Bill Berkson

 

You hope the Earth is equitable,
Because why else are you here,
Fraught with the extra time
And sure-fire energy, clear
And in the same breath, not.

Garbage, detritus, commandeers
Much of each day,
But materiality doesn't look that way to a peanut
Nor yet at us, prey as we seem to be
To the intimate void granted to assuage the even bigger abyss without.

Beams keep solvent if unpolished in
Amassed yearly vaultings.
Crumbs and contouring in an antique frame
Compound the sands they shift and bear the foot
Traffic along its jagged route.

Old Walkway, you who are traditionally mistaken about
Your portion of this well-whittled master plan,
How phenomena lodge
In every filter and grander
Conceptions dance the Life-form Jack.

Sorry about what passes as fact
In emboldened dot patterns, extended fingerings
Like Norway's prettiest tree
Against clouds' residual entertainment brought home
To meet our obligations should pockets fail.