• 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
February 22

Poetry Reading: Max Garland

readings & workshops
February 23

Poetry Reading: Anna Vitale & Roberto Harrison

readings & workshops
February 24

RESCHEDULED: Genre: Urban Arts No. 3 Release

readings & workshops
March 1

Wisconsin Reads The Round House

film & video
March 2

aCinema Screening

readings & workshops
March 7

Poetry Reading: Kwabena Antoine Nixon

readings & workshops
March 8

Poetry Reading: Ed Block & Jenny Benjamin

readings & workshops
March 14

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series: Suman Chhabra

performances
March 15

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
March 17

Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body with Nikki Wallschlaeger, Jose-Luis Moctezuma & Jay Besemer

readings & workshops
March 22

Community Conversation About The Round House 

readings & workshops
March 28

Poetry Reading: Sherwin Bitsui & Bojan Lewis 

film & video
April 6

aCinema Screening

readings & workshops
April 11

Poetry Reading: Luci Tapahonso

readings & workshops
April 14

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series: Lo Kwa Mei-en

readings & workshops
April 17

Poetry Reading and Conversation with Roberto Harrison @ Brown Deer Public Library

performances
April 19

Alash Ensemble

exhibitions
April 21

Woman: Frailty Thy Name, works by Renee Baker

performances
April 22

ACL presents Renee Baker Quartet, Visual Dark Scratch Suite

readings & workshops
May 2

Poetry Reading: Layli Long Soldier

performances
May 13

Alternating Currents Live presents The Bridge

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

Roberta Hill

Roberta Hill grew up in Wisconsin among the Oneida community and also in Green Bay; the family moved between the two locales several times. A sense of dispossession engendered by forced migration has long been a part of Oneida culture, and this attitude is evident in Hill's poetry. Her most recent collection,Cicadas, was published earlier this year by Holy Cow! Press and has been dubbed "one of the most important collections of contemporary indigenous American poetry" by Joy Harjo.

Hill attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Montana, where she completed her M.F.A. in 1973. She has taught on the Oneida and Rosebud reservations and is currently Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin. She has been a Poet-in-the-Schools in several states.

Selected Poems

Mother's Only Daughter

(from Cicadas)


Roberta Hill

 

Mother loved you more than she loved us,
heart of earth with the autumn sun inside.
The three of us sisters knew you
lulled her Choctaw hunger, you,
the creamy white flower she stroked on calmer days.
You trembled under the full moon near the sultry streets
of Natchitoches and Saddle Tree, then
acted innocent while she dug peanuts
under solemn pines.

She kept you well hidden in the back
of the bin, but we knew a yam
was the only real daughter, well-behaved,
adapatable and sweet, the right color, not brown
but golden, and with enough of her heat, you
mastered her tricks. You pulsed in soil

and fit her palm. We pulsed on top
and ruined her plans. If you weren't rooted,
capable of rot, your swelling would have given
her cause for alarm. She would slip off your coat
and tell us stories of all those who had you
in their grip, how you freed them, fed them,
loved them true.

You store the memory
of her fierce cuisine, that pan of hot southern fried
popping as it flew, glasses bouncing off
counter tops, shattering, shambles springing up
for us to live through them. Smelling you,
I come to the full measure of my childhood,
tasting its gold strength and letting the rest fly.