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Upcoming EVENTS

Film Screening: aCinema presents Whose Language You Don’t Understand (2018) by Kim Kielhofner

On view through Friday, September 18th

Whose Language You Don’t Understand, named after a novel by the late Austrian writer Marianne Fritz (1948–2007), is a video cycle exploring the limits of language. Fritz spent most of her adult life—over 30 years—working on a cycle of dense and complex novels she called The Fortress, which consists of over 10,000 pages and remained unfinished at the time of her death. Her project is an unusual and astonishing one that challenges the conventions of writing and reading. In Fritz’s work, writing sustains a reality. Writing becomes a movement into an alternative world, and readership offers radical possibilities. 

Kim Kielhofner’s work is interested in layered narratives examining the historical implications of how we understand stories, how we remember, and how we place ourselves within them. Working across video, drawing, installation, and text, she builds from a process of collecting images and material, and opens an imaginary space where the notions of self and place can be re-written through the rearrangement and dispersal of this material. Her work has been presented in solo shows at Dazibao (Montréal, CA), LUX (London, UK), VOX (Montréal, CA), Sporobole (Sherbrooke, CA), and k48 (Vienna, AT). Her work has also been shown widely in group exhibitions and screenings including Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, WRO Biennale, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, and Bienal de la Imagen en Movimiento in Buenos Aires. She has been an artist in residence at KulturKontakt (Vienna, AT), Aberystwyth Arts Centre (UK), and the Red Mansion Foundation (Beijing, CN). 

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Poetry Reading: Tara Betts & Jennifer Steele

Fri. Sept. 18 | 7 pm CT | $Give What You Can

Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit (Trio House Press 2016) and Arc & Hue (Aquarius Press, 2009) as well as the chapbooks 7 x 7: kwansabas (Backbone Press, 2017) and THE GREATEST!: An Homage to Muhammad Ali (Winged City Chapbook Press, 2013). She is part of the MFA faculty at Stonecoast–University of Southern Maine and teaches a weekly poetry workshop at Stateville maximum security prison. In addition to her work as the Poetry Editor at Another Chicago Magazine and the Langston Hughes Review, she recently signed on as the Lit Editor at Newcity and the Editor at Beautiful People. She hosts author chats at the Seminary Co-Op bookstores in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. 

Jennifer Steele is a native of Middletown, Connecticut, a Chicagoan, and the author of the chapbook A House In Its Hunger (Central Square Press, 2018). She received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago in 2008 and was a 2015 Callaloo Fellow and a 2016 Poetry Incubator Fellow. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Revolving Door Arts alongside her service to the young people of Chicago through her work as an educator at Chicago Public Library. The inaugural recipient of the 2019 Lucille Clifton Creative Parent Award from Raising Mothers Magazine, her work has appeared in Hypertext Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Callaloo, Columbia Poetry Review, and others. She is working on a full-length collection of poetry, titled Belt, and developing a collection of creative nonfiction.

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Community Group: Readshop 

Sat. Sept. 19 | 12:15–1:30 pm CT | $Give What You Can

Led by poet and Woodland Pattern co-founder Karl Gartung, Readshops are community sessions dedicated to exploring poetry texts from the 20th century that are often labeled "difficult." Participants take turns reading the poetry aloud, discussing it as questions arise—on the spot, as deeply as needed. No preparation is needed; the only prerequisite is curiosity.

The group is currently reading Nathaniel Mackey’s From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate. This volume collects the first three installments―Bedouin Hornbook, Djbot Baghostus’s Run, and Atet A.D.―of Mackey’s genre-defying work of fiction. A project that began over thirty years ago, From a Broken Bottle is an epistolary novel that unfolds through N.’s intricate letters to the mysterious Angel of Dust. Unexpected, profound happenings take place as N. delves into music and art and the goings-on of his transmorphic Los Angeles-based jazz ensemble, in which he is a composer and instrumentalist. This triple-set book opens in July 1978 with a dream of a haunting Archie Shepp solo, and closes in September 1982 in a parallactic studio recording session on a glass-bottomed boat borne aloft by the music. 

To join this group or learn more, contact Education Director Alexa Nutile below. 

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Open Mic Reading: 100 Thousand Poets for Change

Sat. Sept. 26 | 2 pm CT | $Give What You Can

September 26, 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, and poets from around the globe will be hosting events in support of peace, justice, and sustainability. Registration for our own event is now full! Reading on September 26th will be an amazing gathering of Milwaukee poets: Sue BlausteinPeter BurzynskiBrenda Cárdenas, Bryon Cherry, Terimarie Degree, Bill EmblyBob HansonRoberto Harrison, Anne KollerScott Lowry, Siwar Massanat, Alea McHatten, Dustin Nelson, Kathleen Phillips, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Margaret Rozga, Liandra Skenadore, Lisa Vihos, Ed Werstein, Peter Whalen, alida cardós whaley, and Kathrine Yets.

POETRY & ECOJUSTICE

Part of The First Function of Poetry: A Social Justice Series 

Fri, Oct. 16 | 7 pm CDT | $Give What You can - The Poetics of Urban Gardening: A Discussion & Q&A 

Ahead of their Saturday reading, authors and gardeners Ross Gay, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Kelsey Marie Harris will join Venice Williams, the founder of Alice’s Garden in Milwaukee, to discuss the intersections between creative collaboration, gardening, poetry, politics, and well-being. Woodland Pattern executive director Jenny Gropp will moderate, and the conversation will open to a Q & A toward the program’s end.

Sat, Oct. 17 | 7 pm CDT | $Give What You Can - Poetry Reading with Ross Gay, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Kelsey Marie Harris

Presented in partnership with Boswell Books

Ross Gay is the author of the poetry collections Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (2015), winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and Bringing the Shovel Down (2011)—both from the University of Pittsburgh Press—as well as Against Which (CavanKerry Press, 2006) and a new booklength poem, Be Holding, forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in September of 2020. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019.

Ross is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens, in addition to being co-author, with Rosechard Wehrenberg, of the chapbook, River (Monster House Press, 2014). He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He also works on The Tenderness Project with Shayla Lawson and Essence London. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil's books of poetry include Oceanic (Copper Canyon Press, 2018) and three titles from Tupelo Press: Lucky Fish (2011), winner of the Hoffer Grand Prize for Prose and Independent Books; At the Drive-In Volcano (2007); and Miracle Fruit (2003). With Ross Gay, she co-authored a chapbook of nature poems, Lace & Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens (Organic Weapon Arts, 2014). Her most recent publication is her first book of essays, the highly anticipated World of Wonders (Milkweed Editions, 2020). She is the poetry editor of Orion magazine and her poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, and Tin House. Awards for her writing include an NEA Fellowship in poetry and the Pushcart Prize. She is professor of English and creative writing in the MFA program of the University of Mississippi.

Kelsey Marie Harris is a gardener, artist, poet, and pessimist, in no particular order. She is the author of two chapbooks, The Jolly Queef (2018) and Bury Your Horses (2020), as well as a full-length poetry book, Spit (Verb) in My Mouth (2020), all published by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. She also has a self-published chapbook, Sex Wound. Kelsey is a Bonk! Volunteer, and editor for Really Serious Literature. She is also 2020’s Racine Writer-In-Residence. Her poetry is fueled by anxiety, selfloathing, and chronic over-thinking. Her poems have been published in the Rust Mill; Horror Sleaze Trash; Forklift, Ohio; and Dreginald.

Venice Williams is the founder and executive director of Alice’s Garden, an urban farm that teaches cultivation to Milwaukee families. The garden provides models of regenerative farming, community cultural development, and economic enterprises for urban agricultural space. In addition to providing land and resources for gardening, Ms. Williams offers a multitude of other services in the outdoor space, such as yoga classes, community potlucks, film screenings, and reading groups. Many of the events are free-of-cost; what Ms. Williams asks is that everyone come with open arms and respect for one another. Ms. Williams is also the visionary behind the Mind Body & Soul Center, where she hosts a myriad of events around topics that create awareness in the community. In 2019, the City of Milwaukee recognized her work by honoring her with the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award.

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Workshop: Tension Zones: Landscape, Memory, and Writing with Chuck Stebelton

Sundays, Oct. 11, 18, 25 | 2–4 pm CDT | $100 (General), $90 (Members)

The land offers us good reading, outdoors, from a lively, unfinished manuscript. A forest, an old field, a prairie remnant, an urban tree canopy is each a set of constant tensions. In natural history terms, the Tension Zone is an S-curved boundary where Wisconsin’s southern plant communities and northern plant communities converge.

Our particular region, Milwaukee County, happens to exist fully inside this zone. With naturalist May Theilgaard Watts as one of our primary guides, let’s practice reading tension in the landscape. We can look as well to poets, printers, and local historians (Lorine Niedecker, Harryette Mullen, Margaret Noodin, Gaylord Schanilec, Martha Bergland) to help us explore the tensions at play in inscription, speech, memory, and forgetfulness. We’ll write with what we find there, or against these things, and each contribute to a collective daybook to supplement our own individual writing.

This course will take place online and is limited to 12 participants. Sign up early to secure a spot.

Chuck Stebelton – WEB-01

Chuck Stebelton is author of An Apostle Island (Oxeye Press, 2020) and two previous full-length collections of poetry. He served as Literary Program Director at Woodland Pattern Book Center from 2005 to 2017. As a Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer he has offered interpretive hikes for conservancy groups and arts organizations including Friends of Cedarburg Bog, Milwaukee Audubon Society, Woodland Pattern Book Center, Friends of Lorine Niedecker, and the Lynden Sculpture Garden. He edits Partly Press for Lynden Sculpture Garden and is currently a participant in Lynden's residency program.

Featured Video: ONE POEM: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives 


On August 18, 2020, the founding members of the Poetry Coalition, a national alliance of more than 25 organizations (including Woodland Pattern), presented a live broadcast ONE POEM: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives via Crowdcast. Please consider giving to organizations and efforts working against injustice, including those recommended by the founding members of the Poetry Coalition here.

The poets featured were Prisca Afantchao, Sojourner Ahebee, Kazim Ali, Kimberly Blaeser, Jericho Brown, Meera Dasgupta, Kwame Dawes, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Safia Elhillo, Martín Espada, Sesshu Foster, Kimberly Jae, Raina J. León, Mwatabu Okantah, Arsimmer McCoy, Alberto Ríos, Terisa Siagatonu, Matthew Thompson, Emma Trelles, Nikki Wallschlaeger (reading on behalf of Woodland Pattern), Monica Youn, and avery r. young.

Interview with Anne Waldman

On June 28th, Anne Waldman spoke with us on Riverwest Radio WXRW about her latest album Sciamachy, which Patti Smith has hailed as “exquisitely potent, a psychic shield for our times.” In keeping with Waldman’s life-long ethos of cross-disciplinary collaboration, Sciamachy features Laurie Anderson on electric violin, Deb Googe (of My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream) on baritone bass, free jazz legend William Parker on n’goni, Guro Moe and Hävard Skaset (of the Norweigan hardcore group MoE) on electric bass and guitar, Waldman’s son Ambrose Bye on synthesizer, and her nephew Devin Brahja Waldman on saxophone, drums and production. Copies of Sciamachy are available at Woodland Pattern.

Anne Waldman—poet, performer, professor, editor, literary curator, cultural activist—is the author of over 50 books. Growing up in the counter-cultural mecca of downtown Manhattan in the ’50s and ’60s, she went on to co-found the Poetry Project in New York’s East Village, booking poetry readings for luminaries such as William Burroughs, Cecil Taylor, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Eileen Myles, and countless others. In 1974 she co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg in Boulder, Colorado; and in 1975 she toured with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. In the decades following, Waldman went on to headline poetry festivals throughout five continents, receive numerous awards such as the Guggenheim Fellowship, and teach thousands of poetry students all over the world.

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Woodland Pattern & COVID-19 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have closed our doors for the first time in four decades. During this hiatus from our physical space, we are working to facilitate remote projects and welcome your input and participation. 

While we're closed, we hope you will join us for online book discussions, writing groups, workshops, live poetry performances, and other events. We also invite you to sign up for our newsletter to receive Prompts Against Anxiety—weekly exercises that promote at-home creativity, personal fortitude, and solidarity with others. 

Please take a look around on our new website to take advantage of the various resources here, including activity books available for download from Cosecha Creative Space and recordings from recent online events. Be sure to check out Tropical Lung: Tec Alliance—a new exhibition of works on paper by Roberto Harrision—and read our statement on racial justice, where you can also find links to anti-racism organizations and educational materials. 


We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present. 

We further acknowledge the grave evil colonialism introduced to these lands ​through genocide as well as slavery, and also via racist and xenophobic ​beliefs, laws​, and practices that continue to inflict harm upon Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives. We honor those who have lived—and do live, now—at these intersections of identity and experience, and are committed to the active dismantling of white supremacy.

Read our statement on racial justice

720 E. Locust Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414 263 5001

Hours: Tues–Fri | 11-8pm

Sat & Sun | 12–5 pm | Closed Mon

Contactless pick-up: Wed–Fri | 2–6 pm, Sat | 2–5 pm


Building Accessibility: Despite the age of our physical location, and attendant limitations to access, Woodland Pattern is committed to making its programs and facilities available for as many as possible. Please call for more information.

Events Accessibility: Woodland Pattern is in the process of obtaining captioning services for its online events and can provide ASL interpretation for live events. Please contact us with accommodation requests and questions.

© Woodland Pattern 2020