Poetry at Woodland Pattern

Poetry has always been the centerpiece of Woodland Pattern's multi-arts programming. Each year we present dozens of readings, workshops, book releases, and special events that feature poets both from our region and from around the country. Below you will find a list of current and/or ongoing poetry programs, including some of our longest-running series and special events. 

A founding member of the Poetry Coalition, Woodland Pattern is part of a national alliance of more than 25 organizations working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year we work with the Coalition to coordinate programming around a theme of social justice that poetry can effectively address. 

For information on upcoming poetry readings, workshops, and other events, check our calendar.

Poetry in the Park

Now in its sixth year, Poetry in the Park is a seasonal outdoor public reading series held at Milwaukee's Juneau Park in dramatic backdrop of Lake Michigan. A collaboration between Juneau Park Friends, Woodland Pattern, and local curators, the program has proven broadly appealing, drawing hundreds of devotees and passersby alike. 


Poetry Camp

Since 1999, our summer Poetry Camps have touched approximately 1,500 young lives in Milwaukee while also supporting the careers of some of the city’s most outstanding teaching artists and youth advocates.
Both poetry-centric and multidisciplinary in focus, Poetry Camp offers a range of creative activities and formative experiences that help students aged 12–18 find and celebrate their voices. Each year, we offer two one-week sessions—including instruction, meals, field trips, and a $100 book allowance—completely free of cost to families. 


Poetry Marathon

Each year on the final Saturday in January, hundreds of poets and community members from Milwaukee and beyond gather at Woodland Pattern for our annual Poetry Marathon, a fifteen-hour extravaganza of five-minute poetry performances from a wide range of participants. Including everyone from young children to current and former Poets Laureate from around the state, the event has become an important cultural tradition not only for Woodland Pattern but for Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood and for writers from around the Great Lakes region.


Lynden Writers in Residence

Through this now eight-year collaboration with the Lynden Sculpture Garden, we’re able to invite two writers each year to conduct extended workshops using the grounds and art works at Lynden as inspiration. Other attendant activities include public readings at Woodland Pattern by the visiting writers, tours of the garden, and a closing reading and reception for workshop participants. Writers-in-residence have included Anne Boyer, Emily Kendal Frey, Duriel Harris, LeAnne Howe, Bhanu Kapil, Peter Markus, Ed Roberson, and TC Tolbert.


Native Writers in the 21st Century

Now entering its tenth season, this ongoing reading, workshop, and lecture series focuses on presenting Indigenous writers of significant stature or promise at every stage of their careers. Recent visiting writers have included Sherwin Bitsui, Santee Frazier, Joy Harjo, LeAnne Howe, Joan Kane, Tommy Pico, Jake Skeets, and Luci Tapahonso, among many others. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.


New Poetry Series

Funded by the Poetry Foundation, this reading series pairs national and regional poets celebrating new book publications. Poets so far have included Rosa Alcalá, Mary-Kim Arnold, Kimberly Blaeser, Daniel Borzutzky, Leila Chatti, Kate Colby, Becca Klaver, Faisal Mohyuddin, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Morgan Parker, Angela Trudell-Vasquez, Sandra Simonds, William Stobb, Beatrice Szymkowiak, Nikki Wallschlaeger, and Dara Wier.


Unwriting Borders 

Curated by Roberto Harrison and sponsored by the Milwaukee Arts Board, Unwriting Borders: Latinx Poetry in the U.S. seeks to counter via poetry the harmful rhetoric and attendant violence often experienced by Latinx communities. Poets featured in this series so far have included José Felipe Alvergue, Edgar Garcia, elena minor, Lara Mimosa Montes, Urayoán Noel, Gabriel Ojeda-Segué, Maryam Ivette Parhizkar, Paul Martínez Pompa, Eléna Rivera, Raquel Salas Rivera, Dominique Salas, Elias Sepulveda, Jennif(f)er Tamayo, and Lila Zemborain.


We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami (Big Lake), 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.

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–Sat | 2-6 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