• 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
«
»
exhibitions
October 6 -28

Exhibition - Ugly Duckling Presse: 25th Anniversary Celebration

readings & workshops
October 23

OFF-SITE: Creative Writers in Nonprofit Careers: Panel Discussion, Reading, and Reception

readings & workshops
October 25

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets + Open Mic

readings & workshops
October 28

Poetry Reading: Kathleen A. Dale, Louisa Loveridge Gallas, Judith Harway, and Bill Murtaugh

film & video
November 2

Screening: aCinema presents // Retour //

readings & workshops
November 3 -3

Writing is Freedom (a high wire adventure) with elena minor

readings & workshops
November 3

Poetry Reading: elena minor & Paul Martínez Pompa

readings & workshops
November 6

Poetry Reading: Michael Dowdy

readings & workshops
November 6

Offsite Talk: Michael Dowdy @ UW-Milwaukee

special events
November 17

We Exist to Prove the Living Artist: 38th Anniversary Gala

performances
November 18

Concert: Alternating Currents Live presents The Bridge #15

performances
November 22

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
November 27

Reading: Theodore Van Alst Jr.

readings & workshops
November 28

Poetry Reading: Krystal Languell & Dominique Salas

readings & workshops
November 30

Poetry Reading: Anna Vitale and Daniel Owen

film & video
December 14

Film Screening: Riverwest Film & Video by Emir Cakaroz

performances
December 20

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

Heid E. Erdrich

writes, teaches, and collaborates with other artists across genres. She grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and is Ojibwe, enrolled at Turtle Mountain. She is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2012). Erdrich won a Minnesota Book Award for National Monuments in 2009, and she is a 2013 Artist of the Year honoree from City Pages Minneapolis. Additionally, she has received awards from The Loft Literary Center, the Archibald Bush Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and First People's Fund, among other honors. Since 2007, Erdrich has worked with American Indian visual artists as an arts advocate and a curator. In 2010 she founded Wiigwaas Press to publish Ojibwe language books. Heid's newest book Original Local: Indigenous Foods Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest(Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013) is selling like Grandma Gourneau's Corn Cakes!

Selected Poems

The Theft Outright



Heid Erdrich

 

After Frost

We were the land's before we were.

Or the land was ours before you were a land.
Or this land was our land, it was not your land.

We were the land before we were people,
loamy roamers rising, so the stories go,
or formed of clay, spit into with breath reeking soul—

What's America, but the legend of Rock 'n' Roll?

Red rocks, blood clots bearing boys, blood sands
swimming being from women's hands, we originate,
originally, spontaneous as hemorrhage.

Un-possessing of what we still are possessed by,
possessed by what we now no more possess.

We were the land before we were people,
dreamy sunbeams where sun don't shine, so the stories go,
or pulled up a hole, clawing past ants and roots—

Dineh in documentaries scoff DNA evidence off.
They landed late, but canyons spoke them home.
Nomadic Turkish horse tribes they don't know.

What's America, but the legend of Stop 'n' Go?

Could be cousins, left on the land bridge,
contrary to popular belief, that was a two-way toll.
In any case we'd claim them, give them someplace to stay.

Such as we were we gave most things outright
(the deed of the theft was many deeds and leases and claim stakes
and tenure disputes and moved plat markers stolen still today...)

We were the land before we were a people,
earthdivers, her darling mudpuppies, so the stories go,
or emerging, fully formed from flesh of earth—

The land, not the least vaguely, realizing in all four directions,
still storied, art-filled, fully enhanced.
Such as she is, such as she wills us to become


from National Monuments