Tag Archives: Milwaukee

Afternoon walk

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Somedays a walk to the river is a remedy. Amid the ruckus of urban construction projects, the drone of downtown automobile traffic, and the labor of knowledge work[1], small urban spaces provide much needed havens. I grab a sketchbook, a cup of coffee[2] and 30-minutes beside the river after an afternoon walk.

NOTES:
[1] The first time I read the term knowledge worker was in a book by Tom Peters. He may have acquired the term from Peter Drucker.
[2] There is a great coffeeshop, Colectivo, in the Third Ward near the Public Market that I like to visit.

Anatomy of print advertising

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Very excited about a mentoring opportunity with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee this afternoon. Last October I volunteered and really enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience of graphic design with the students.

Here are my notes on the five basic elements of a print advertisement.

  1. Headline
  2. Subhead
  3. Body copy
  4. Visuals
  5. Layout

A print ad includes other components (like, color, shape, logo, etc.), but these five elements are foundational to print advertising.

Milwaukee Fog, tea latte

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It is not on the menu, but if you ask a barista for a London fog tea latte, in most cases, he or she will know how to make it.

And since Milwaukee is cloaked in dense fog, I asked the barista for London fog tea latte. He looked at me twice, smiled and said, “Yeah, I can do that.”

Ice Circles

20160223-184201.jpgAn ice circle, or ice disc, forms in slow moving water in cold climates.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted several ice circles slowly spinning in the waters north of the art museum on an afternoon walk. Beautiful. Like gears grinding away rough edges into glistening discs in the afternoon sun. The delicate slushy, glassy sound reminds me of wind chimes. But there is no wind today. Flags like wilted flowers hang on the poles around the war memorial building. A hawk is perched on a lamp post.

The noisy hurly burly of East Town’s traffic and many construction projects is a dim echo to the mesmerizing music of ice circles.

I could sit here beside those circling ice discs the rest of the day. Or at least until the sun sets.

But only a few minutes remain of my break. And there is work to be done — projects to complete. Matters of consequence.

With hesitation, I leave the spinning ice circles to perform their tranquil charms to the neighboring ducks, gulls and the lone hawk.

Everyone is Polish on Pączki Day

So, it is Fat Tuesday.[1] Meaning it is almost Lent.[2] In Milwaukee. Meaning it is Pączki Day.[3] And the office fun committee made sure those special Polish pastries[4] are available for staff in the lunch room.

Not from Milwaukee? Not Polish? A member of the fun committee smiled and said, “Everyone is Polish on Pączki Day.”

NOTES
[1] Fat Tuesday, also named Mardi Gras
[2] On Lent, fasting and feasting
[3] For a primer, OnMilwaukee provides a word on pączki and seven Milwaukee locations to enjoy the treat.
[4] Here is the correct pronunciation of pączki:

Amazing readings, beautiful community

“Amazing readings, beautiful community,” tweeted one of the poetry marathon attendees Saturday night. Indeed it was a good night to visit Woodland Pattern Book Center to hear poets share their work. To be exact, 150 area poets shared their work.

I participated in the 9 o’clock hour. Featured poets included: Matt Cook, Tom Erickson, Peter Burzynski, Franklin K.R. Cline, Carmen Murguia, Peter Whalen, Bob Koss, Jane Lukic, Michael Wendt. One of the highlights of that hour was to hear a Czesław Miłosz poem read in Polish.

Each poet is afforded five minutes to read. The poems I selected earlier in the day loosely fit the motif of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. They were all short poems. One of the poems was a spare two lines. So, I read it slowly. In truth, I try to read all poetry at a slow pace. It is a technique I picked up from some of my favorite poets in Western North Carolina.

After the 9 o’clock hour readings concluded, one of the event coordinators commented that she likes this part of the marathon. She said that the poets are warmed up at this point and the poetry really engages the audience. While milling around after the reading, a board member of Woodland Pattern asked me if I was a visiting professor. I smiled. It is a question I get asked a lot after a public reading.

Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

How does a poet select poems to read at a poetry marathon? I have been asking myself and my wife that question all week. Tomorrow is the annual poetry marathon at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. Something like 150 poets will be at the all-day event.

As I peruse a collection of publications I am a little startled to realize that there is a decade or more of work published in various journals and reviews.[1] Some of the publications are regional to North Carolina while others are national.

My work does not have a lot of Milwaukee-area credentials and I am not well-known to this region (forthcoming work is to be published by a Milwaukee publisher). Even so, I feel like an outsider at the Woodland Pattern poetry community. This is familiar territory.[2]

During a conversation with my wife this week an idea formed. Selecting poems based on the wedding adage was the plan: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. This developed into an engaging exercise of finding poems to fit that motif. Looking forward to sharing the results tomorrow night — between 9 and 10 p.m. — at Woodland Pattern Book Center.

NOTES
[1] A SHORT LIST OF SEVEN PUBLISHED POEMS:”Saturday Night, Coffee House,” Rapid River, 2004; “Reading ‘My American Body’ by W. K. Buckley,” Rapid River, 2005; “Narrative Kernel,” Rapid River, 2005; “Last Bus,” H_NGM_N, 2005; “The Last American Chestnut Tree,” The Blotter, 2006; “Loneliness Visits,” .ISM Quarterly, 2006; “Last Night at the New French Bar,” Crab Creek Review, 2010
[2] A good friend and poet, Barbie Angell, once told me that I am on the cusp as far as a poet and writer is concerned. Meaning, that I am on the border or threshold of the academic (published) poetry scene and the street (unpublished) poetry scene. So, being a stranger to the Milwaukee poetry scene is familiar place for me.

When you get to the top

20160128-164211.jpgSome days, I walk to Grand Avenue — or rather, The Shops of Grand Avenue — in the afternoon. It breaks up the work day. Offers exercise. Occasionally lunch. Or coffee.

This week is the Annual Poetry Marathon

Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 East Locust Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212

Woodland Pattern Book Center’s 22nd Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit is almost here and I have done a horrible job promoting the event.

This is the second time I will be reading poetry at the Woodland Pattern Book Center. If you are so inclined, you may sponsor me as I read poetry during the 9 -10 PM portion of the marathon. Details on sponsorship is here.

Or join the event and hear some of the poets in the area and beyond. Last year, if I recall correctly, some of the poets drove from as far as Madison to read at the marathon. Hope to see you there.