It might be noted that the ________-Shaped Reading Series which shifted names for a couple of years (in the spirit of the luminary Wisconsinite Don Loomis Shape) has come to an end, its last reading, unposted here like the several before, the Brandon Brown bonanza on the 15th of July, 2013. If you’re interested in hearing more poetry readings in Madison we suggest attending Oscar Presents. Stay tuned for our celebratory wake-shaped reading sometime in the summer of 2014.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Near Perfectly-Shaped Reading (July 25th, 8pm: 1335 Willy St.)

It’s late notice, but it’s real. This Wednesday Night, the 25th of July, we will host esteemed and outrageous poets Jenny Zhang from NYC, Mike Hauser from Milwaukee, and Gertrude Stein from the historical avant-garde. This will take place at Anna’s apartment located 1335 Williamson St., Apt. 1 at 8pm. Please attend for everyone’s sake.


Jenny Zhang is the author of Dear Jenny, We Are All Find (Octopus Books, 2012). Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Glimmertrain and The Guardian, Diagram and Jezebel. She was born in Shanghai and writes for teenage girls at Rookie magazine. You can find her at

Mike Hauser lives in Milwaukee. He’s done such poetry-related things as organize a reading series, host a podcast/radio show dedicated largely to poetry and read poems to audiences of varying size. He published an e-chapbook as part of Michael Schiavo’s THE EQUALIZER project which can be read here:

Gertrude Stein‘s first book is Three Lives (Grafton Press, 1909). A fourth Life, Jenny: It’s Gonna Be May, was suppressed by a jealous Alice B. Toklas: “She preferred to have it named after he had he had he had she must five is five so often as often as often one as often, having half and nearly Jenny too, too two two. Jenny is a drop. This is clear clearly. You do leave it here here here here Chambery.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Speed Greek-Shaped Reading: Brown & Ward (June 15th, 8pm, at Anna’s)

Because Dana Ward and Brandon Brown are reading (I have bolded their names to emphasize), my advice is to attend the Speed Greek-Shaped Reading on the 15th of June at 8pm at Anna’s Apt. 1335 Willy St., apt.1. This guy’s the limit, and I mean that on each of them. My true opinion is excitement, really one of the best possible readings to be heard. Well, I’ve said it. Oh and BYO-Beverages, and now bios below with a couple of poems proceeding:


BRANDON BROWN’s first two books were published in 2011, The Persians By Aeschylus (Displaced Press) and The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus (Krupskaya.) Poems and prose have recently appeared in Postmodern Culture, BPM, Model Homes, and Art Practical. In 2012, his debut play Charles Baudelaire the Vampire Slayer was staged at Small Press Traffic’s Poet’s Theater and his work was part of the group show FAX at the San Francisco Arts Commission.

DANA WARD is the author of This Can’t Be Life (Edge Books). The Crisis of Infinite Worlds is forthcoming from Futurepoem in fall of 2012, as is another book, as yet untitled, from Flowers & Cream. He lives in Cincinnati, runs the Cy Press @ Thunder Sky reading series, & co-edits Perfect Lovers Press with Paul Coors.


Brandon Brown


At Starbucks they’re showing a portrait of one
of their slaves lugging a big basket of beans
on his shoulder. They’re really rubbing “it”
in my face and/or I’m really rubbing “it”
in my own face. Heinous laziness that pricks
one’s visage. Source and mouth of a
BLOOD RIVER pooling in one’s septum,
spewing into futurity. I came here to write in my, um,
dream journal.  A coup of nastiness gathers as a sourness
on our tongues in unison, crewing us who only
meant to accrue stimulation among babes. My dreams
are full of oboes, moms, perfumes. Musky like the treasured
smell of yesterday’s fuck still murmuring on the
lip. Immiseration of the criminal proletariat
plays as scalding water pulverizing fruit.

I was heinous and lazy. I did it for babes.
But I did it for historic babes.

Dana Ward

The Crisis of Infinite Worlds

Krystal Cole
you’re all I thought about sometimes
I watched you while our daughter slept
your Sissy Spacek ways
your laconic demeanor in relaying
either ecstasy or trauma
& the un-embittered empathy your voice conveyed
on YouTube
which is our loving cup
the solution of butter
& DMT you took
anally that really made you
freak the fuck out
& your friends just stood there
watching you
as you hurtled alone through mirrored tunnels.
It’s that frictionless feeling
the smooth & vacant course
that lacks abruption, one wave
the clinical mania un-
differentiated whiteness
contains when cylindrical cloud
hard & plastic comes to represent
the mind to the mind
& thus describe a model
of terrible momentum
with unity of purpose
toward nothing so much
as cold, radiant nature
stripped of Eros, of becoming,
just the mainframe
& its withering severity
without any predicate
of others, save perhaps their
gazes, no walls,
no nothing, completely
white light & your name
when your consciousness was
splitting time was stopping
you were going always into that.
I was going always to the mall
in those months,
the young century’s rainiest
April & May, to walk the
baby & to understand my art.
I didn’t understand.
I would move the stroller
through the halogen, over
grooved tile & across those
smooth marble expanses meant
to simulate floating & gliding
before that pure frictionless
feeling was entire. Sometimes
we’d go inside the stores.
Sears was still enormous
& because of its design
implied a bound series of
discrete, related worlds
linked by passages threatened
& precarious to me.
The connections felt
besieged or like a mask
for separation, they felt
like connection between us
in life but I didn’t
take my allegory
further Krystal Cole, into your
lysergic delirium later redeemed
by a beautiful discipline
of spirit & cosmography
developed for praxis. I liked
your video on candy
flipping hard & developing
ESP with friends.
It suggested oneness
was a leavened mix
of random indiscretion,
bruising wariness, & bliss
obtained by synchronizing
chemical encounter. Krystal,
there’s a made up drug
I wonder if you’d do it?
Bradley Cooper, in “Limitless”
Takes this little pill, which,
in its candy dot translucence
looks a lot like a tear plucked
from the cheek in Many Ray’s “Larmes”.
With it, he can utilize
all of his brain, & so
he un-riddles the patterning
hidden in the ceaseless
flow of capital, structuring its
chaos in excess of any mortal
with a terrible momentum
& unity of purpose toward
nothing so much as pure profit
& complete subordination
of the world. At the mall
certain spots sold old stuff: sports
memorabilia & video
games, vintage organs & deluxe
baby grands.  In one store
there were highly priced
comics with toys & ephemera
related to the stories.
They had action figures
based on some series I guess
called “The Crisis of
Infinite Earths.” I wrote
the phrase down in my notebook
& realized only later that I’d
made a rather telling trans-
position, putting the word
‘world’ where Earth was & thinking
“The Crisis of Infinite Worlds”
I guess because anyone will
occasion the world as a
world its commonality precarious
but real, & the person
beside them does the same the person
far in everyway from them will as well
where the wound of even
being in material conditions
where consciousness is made these
confrontations & arrangements
each taking their referent
then as earth or taking
something else entirely
as world–the word is profligate
& dense & transparent & cheap
& impossibly one the clearest pill.
In our minds it floods with light & we
see through that, life’s benevolent corruption
in a radiance we can’t make
any sense of.  Krystal, have you ever,
just standing around,
noticed someone smoking
in an older silver Volvo
& watched the comeback feelings
of a Tupac Easter Sunday
steep in their ambivalent features
until they are more radiant
than cinematic virgins
having lost it in the wake
of Saint Maria Goretti
whose patronage is lost
to the brutalized sweetness
of her charges
when depicted in the mind
& reconstructed
as a low res simulation
by scientists the weekend
Wall Street’s occupied & particles
are found to go
faster than light
then weirdly feel like
this is paradise
not for people
but paradise
That same May
I had gone to Detroit. I saw
the most wonderful graffiti, more
a prayer, written on a wall
in magic marker, it read—
Two Things:

1.) That we would grow closer & closer as time progresses
2.) That our ships would not crash.

Magic marker on a
surface doesn’t have
much depth of skin.
You move it smoothly
on the wall & it stays smooth
barely records the softest friction
of two separate textures meeting.
The wetness of its onyx
dries quick or even quicker
if you blow on it with circled lips,
like clouds in old maps
that blew ships across a flat earth
to an edge I don’t exactly
not idealize. That somewhere
there’s a precipice in this world & tracing
my finger along those ardent lines
I’d found the fault of it
a little, in its boldness far too faint
& not enough.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized



We welcomes Milwaukee’s Edwin Perry and Chelsea Tadeyeske and Madison’s Paul Baker.

These cats from Milwaukee are doing wonderful things in poetry, in bookmaking and in their community, and Paul’s recent writing leads inexorably to astonishment, group performance (meaning maybe you!) and occasionally incapacitating laughter. It’s going to happen

Saturday, April 28, 7 p.m.

Avol’s Bookstore, 315 West Gorham

and we look forward to seeing you there.

Chelsea Tadeyeske is a twist on the tabletop, a salt-sea of invisibilites. She cannot stop time, but she can smash all the clocks. She hails from Milwaukee

edwin r. perry is a hat rack, or a rack of hats. Midwestern hearted, he currently lives in Milwaukee and runs Plumberries Press.

Paul baker is older than you are. He is one handshake away from ezra pound. He is writing this in a horizontal position. He grew up in lexington kentucky, where the two topics of ongoing conversation are Jesus and Wildcats basketball. He broke his arm when he was nine years old. Since then, he has been obsessed with the concept of breakage. He is convinced that creation presupposes destruction, and therefore thinks rather highly of the Hindu god Shiva. He has published in the online publication 21 Stars Review. (

Some Sample Poems

Paul baker

Taxonomy of the Messiah

Taxonomy of the Messiah presents difficulties. Nomenclature is regulated by international codes. The description must be based on at least one name-bearing ‘type’ specimen. In addition, Northern Hemisphere countries consistently confuse taxonomy with baked goods from the Netherlands. Astronomy of the Pariah resents multicultures. Legislature is mitigated by splinter national tribes. Shipping containers provide shelters for entire  families of stowaways. With water and food they can last four weeks.
edwin perry

instinctually, i bent.

not to show some lissom audacity,
not to carrot the horse heart, but
to loose the tension of a hip ache
from too much sitting. he doughed,
though, sizing whatever happened past
his window, fancied what, when cut,
might juice down his chin, that which
might plug him in snuggly, that which
might wet his inner thigh. drink stiff,
he offered his lap, and i came curling,
purring, wrapped around his appetite.

Chelsea Tadeyeske


1. Thatched ruin webbed against swaths of weak-edged flesh.
Migrating sea-birds. Momentary shoreline.

2. Bodies streaked with raincord. Asleep in the honeyed undergrowth.
Metallic thrum contorting from heartwall to heartwall.

3. “…a long way from home…” Hanging vacillation.

4. Gash tamped with pine-needles. Symmetry amongst trees.
Clattering counter currents. The wind excited with elm.

5. Drowned hair knotted to the spiral branch.


Filed under Uncategorized

The Pop Mirror-Shaped Reading

On Saturday evening March 24th at Avol’s at 7pm we host three wonderful poets: Nathan Hoks and Catherine Theis from Chicago (Nathan formerly of Madison), and our own Madison-situated Michelle Niemann. Please do come out to enjoy their poems, and join us for a drink afterwards. Bios and Sample Poems below:

NATHAN HOKS’ first book of poems, Reveilles, won Salt Publishing’s Crashaw Prize and was published in 2010. He is also the author of a chapbook, Birds Mistaken For Wind, and the translator of Vicenete Huidobro’s Arctic Poems from Toad Press. With Nicole Flores, he co-edits Convulsive Editions, a micro-press that publishes chapbooks and broadsides. He lives in Chicago.

MICHELLE NIEMANN is a PhD candidate in the English department at UW-Madison. She’s from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and she likes lucky bird sightings. Her poems have appeared in RHINO and After Hours, and her recent projects include SEGMENTARITY (poems), Seven Levels of Sleep (a.k.a. the ground sky diaries, prose), and a series of letters she’s writing to pieces of furniture, plants, and odd decorative items at Edenfred, a writer’s residency in Madison.

CATHERINE THEIS is a poet and playwright living in Chicago. She is the recipient of the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award in Poetry, a Buckham Scholarship Award, and a Rubin Writer Award. Catherine spent her childhood summers in Sicily, where she swam in blue coves and ate gelato before dinner. She once composed a sonnet to the sun and moon with ink from an octopus. She has published poems and short plays in various journals, including Action Yes, Columbia Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, LIT, and Volt. She is the recipient of an Individual Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. Winner of the Crashaw Prize, Theis’s first book is called The Fraud of Good Sleep, (Salt Modern Poets, 2011).


Michelle Niemann

segment (4)

sd red to silver
sd silver to gold

(the crowd—bowed—

Just the fat cat & sleek weasel who got Rose—
that and childbed.

Another woman
gone for food.

That was the line drawn thru thick weather:

the open settle, set out for the country,
long trek nowhere down the backhoed lane

furrow-weary curve of the fence
starved twilight.

some new day whose forecast reaches & fails

Catherine Theis

Selections from Remedies
after Petrarch

An emperor brews the tea himself.
The tea cup chipped from an earlier expedition.

Adultery forms an orange.

The habitat is a tree branch propped up by a wet moccasin.

At the spigot, the tea cup is filled.

The gold leaves and trash remembered as fidelity.

Take this note, which is the last one, and buy a penny’s worth of tea,
a penny’s worth of sugar, and a penny’s worth of water.
Send no invitations but clean your house.

When the glass gets lighter, the platter gets heavier.

Fidelity, the sea we share in peaceful times.

How to make a virgin of your lover:
give him fennel flowers instead.

For gray hair: eat two bowls of fire-hot chili,
standing up, and then have intercourse.
Do not sit down.

When dining with the emperor, make no mention
of the solitary life.

Nathan Hoks

Shadow of the Interior

My friend Michael always carries
His chair from house to house.
He calls this chair his heart, his warm
Beeping heart that he cannot shake
From his hands no matter how hard
He shakes them. Imagine, he says
To me in a letter he never sent, imagine
Having to look at your inner life
Always in your hands, always pointing
The direction from place to place
Until you cannot stand it. One day
You are in a desert where there is
Simply no context for your feelings.
A rhythm rattles your head.
Light sneaks quickly into your eyes
And you cannot tell yourself from sky.
You need a place to lie down, a place
To bore into. You will be happy to
Have your chair. You will clutch its
Thin legs and think about the moon.
A little bit of rock and mud under your
Feet reminds you there was a lake here once.
Lucky you, you see everything inside out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

by dint of-Shaped Reading

In what promises to change the shape of your life*: a reading with illustrious poets from far-flung places: MATVEI YANKELEVICH and CORINA COPP join us from NYC and CATHERINE WAGNER from Oxford, OH.

It’s all this Sunday night (3/4) at Anna’s house from 7:30, and then fo…r those who don’t have shit to do on Monday, it’s on to Mickey’s (i hope). Seriously, this is going to be a beautiful thing.

That’s Anna V’s, 1335 Willy St., apt.1, 7:30 p.m.

Ok, Bios:

CATHERINE WAGNER’s collections of poems include the forthcoming Nervous Device (City Lights 2012), and My New Job (2009), Macular Hole (2004), and Miss America (2001), from Fence. She is associate professor of English at Miami University in Ohio. Her PennSound page is here: [].

MATVEI YANKELEVICH‘s books and chapbooks include Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books), The Present Work (Palm Press), and Writing in the Margin (Loudmouth Collective). His translations from Russian have cropped up in Calque, Circumference, Harpers, New American Writing, Poetry, and the New Yorker, and have been included in OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern) and Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky (FSG). His translations of Daniil Kharms were collected in Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Ardis/Overlook) and received praise from the TLS, the Guardian, the New York Times, and elsewhere. He teaches at Hunter College, Columbia University School of the Arts (Writing Division), and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. At Ugly Duckling Presse, he designs and/or edits many and various books, is the editor of the Eastern European Poets Series, and a co-editor of 6×6. He lives in Brooklyn.

CORINA COPP is a poet and playwright living in Brooklyn, New York. She is most recently the author of Pro Magenta / Be Met (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011) and Marauder (forthcoming, Minutes Books). Poetry and criticism includes writing on Yvonne Rainer, Jean Day, and Hannah Weiner, and can be found in CLOCK, Boston Review, BOMB, Cambridge Literary Review, Cannot Exist, Supermachine, Wild Orchids, The Brooklyn Rail, and other journals; and will be anthologized in Out of Everywhere: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America and the UK (second edition). Her plays include: Tell No One (Small Press Traffic/Invisible Dog 2011), WALTZ (E. 13th Street Theater 2010) and A Week of Kindness (Incubator Arts 2007). Copp is a curator with the Segue Foundation and a recent editor of The Poetry Project Newsletter (2009-2011). She is currently working on The Whole Tragedy of the Inability to Love: A Performance Trilogy.

*note: life change is contingent upon your presence and may be limited to the duration of the event’s occurrence.


from Tell That to the Marines

I like the way

In all the triangular

Shatters a whale

Leap, whales

A wench by the way

Was a word for a

Child and tart

For endearment

How do you see

Stripes in Agnes

Martin, resolutely

White line, metal-

lined, I mean I’d be

Strong and trans-

Parent at first all

Overkill color of

Ships of splendor

Sonia Delaunay is

A vote, this is a

Dye, swim anyone

Fast past décor

A handle on it

Reflecting softens

Sword of state

Length of hard leg

A remark in jest,

Feather plummets

Rending vocation

Sooth plinth, whipped

Dessert, augur, Sybil

Andrews, auribus

Stripes aircraft parts in

Bristol welds a bow

<<How long have

These trees?>> I ask

The little girl on the

Beach I promise

Projection in form


Corina Copp



Robins and cardinals blurt between furrows of storm.
A way energy has of being. It can caress itself.
I know you’re in pain.
You’re in pain.
If you’re in no condition to consent,
it’s rape.
If you’re incapable of intoxication or
I still shouldn’t rape you, system.

Catherine Wagner

from Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt
Sometimes electricity itself makes noise,
buzzing without will or instinct. This world
also fades. The impulse, original, electric,
goes elsewhere or to a remove from a body
tired of itself. Nor can it be said to act at all
if a light goes out when the circuit is broken.
It buzzed in lightning bugs and the clouds
moved on. The clouds where the sun set
on that day were full of rosewater,
geranium-pink and then slowly turned
grey, soft and blended with the pallor
of the atmosphere. You noted that the air
was most still that afternoon and evening.
There were barbeques firing up
for summer, their cinders burned long.
The leaves were still but the ants bustled.
No rustle in the trees while the water
flowed and the sky moved around slowly
in circles. You lift a hand and watch it stay
in place and what is that burn mark from,
from the other day, and what is it like
to be still while you still are in this world?
You can push air around a while longer.
You can dress yourself and cast a shadow.
“Onward Communists,” the banner flaps
in the film, and the soldiers sing, “Onward!”
Matvei Yankelevich

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Tuber-Cloud-Shaped Evening of Poetry and Performance

We’re getting together with folks from UW’s English, Art, and Theatre Departments to host some fantastic poets and artists. The event will feature poets Heather Christle and Benjamin Hersey from Western Massachusetts, Carson Cistulli (of Madison, formerly of Western Massachusetts), and from the Art and Theatre Departments: artists Mark Switzer and Erin Hood and Koala Yip.

TUESDAY, FEB 28th in the George L. Mosse Humanities Building at 455 Park. St. from 7:30-9:30 is when it’s happening.

There will definitely be light refreshments.

HEATHER CHRISTLE is the author of What Is Amazing (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), The Trees The Trees (Octopus Books, 2011), and The Difficult Farm (Octopus Books, 2009). Her poems have appeared in publications including The Believer, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, and The New Yorker. She has taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and at Emory University, where she was the 2009-2011 Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry. She is the Web Editor for jubilat and frequently a writer in residence at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. A native of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, she lives in Western Massachusetts.

CARSON CISTULLI is the author of the full-length collection Some Common Weaknesses Illustrated. He edits and contributes to website The New Enthusiast, the internet home for the leisure poor. He is employed as a baseball writer by FanGraphs.

BENJAMIN HERSEY is a writer and performance artist living in Northampton, Massachusetts. He recently collaborated with monologuist Seth Lepore in Get a Job/Take Me Home Tonight and Dance and Text: A Lethal Combination. He has also appeared both in conjunction with and as a guest performer in several of Missoula Oblongata’s productions. A novel excerpt, stories and a performance text have appeared in Everyday Genius, Fact-Simile and Requited. This is What We’re Up Against, a chapbook of monologues, was published by Chuckwagon in 2008.

ERIN HOOD is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Theatre and Drama. She comes from Texas. Her dissertation research drives her embodied performance work. Performance’s multiple modes of operation drives her dissertation work on bodies and how medicine understands them. “Hey, Fighter,” made in collaboration with Marina Kelly, happened at Ford’s Gym on May 6, 2011. Its documentation just keeps happening. It changes, and changes, and will change what it comes from.

MARK SWITZER is a video and performance artist and MFA Candidate in the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mark’s work is concerned with identity, equality, memory, and fantasy. Recent work includes “Where Can I Reach You?” (Video, 2012), “6 years from this moment…” (Video, 2012), and “Mr. Bufferin” (Performance, 2012).

KOALA YIP holds an MFA in Integrated Media from California Institute of and a BFA (honors) from Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She works across media – performance, installation and moving image that reflect the ongoing exploration of her own artistic voice ranging from contemporary body identity to multiculturalism. Recent work includes “Semiotics of Grace’s Artist Studio – with Intrusion of Koala Boop,” a collaborative project by Koala Yip and Grace Sullivan (Video, 2011).
An appropriation of Martha Rosler’s “Semiotics of the Kitchen” released in 1975, this video performance employs an artificial Betty Boop-like female concept in a physical body intervening in the physical space.




They were projecting a hologram onto my snowsuit
A hologram of nature A snowsuit of white
Nature was not moving but I was moving and that
was most of the plot We got good ratings
They were going to release nature in Los Angeles
Houston and Maine but I was never going to be released
anywhere They were going to give me snacks and
send me into the tundra and evaluate how long
I survived It was our greatest collaboration
I thought Only they were the ones with ideas and
I contributed two things My body and the suggestion
that we should maybe try to write it down
When I died it would be a polar bear that got me
I predicted and tried to practice relaxing b/c
I wanted my last feeling to be relaxation
but they said that wouldn’t fit in with the show


(from Pulses of My Ghosts)



photo credit Mick McKiernan


Look, I’m gonna tell you somethin I told Ben one time and I told this
to, ah, Melissa Goldfarb, my court-ordered alcoholism counselor.
The cathedrals they built, in the middle ages,
sometimes they took centuries to complete.
Church kept running out of funds.
Once upon a time there was a guy workin on one of these cathedrals
and he was workin stories up, and his co-workers found out
that he wasn’t workin for money,
he was workin for the love of work
and they threw him off the fuckin buildin.
Society does not tolerate people like me.
Society does not tolerate people like me.
My motivation is questionable,
my sexuality is questionable,
It’s all about the fuckin greenbacks, baby.
I am an aberration
and society destroys that which it cannot understand.
Nobody can understand:
who is this guy?
what’s he doin’? why doesn’t he care about money?
I told Wadinski a long time ago:
I’ll never have anything because I lost my fuckin ambition to make money,
but it wasn’t really ambition that I lost.
It was just my desire to covet worldly possessions.
I am the aberration, you understand,
I am the aberration.


(from Stonewall Cola)



A Brief List of Things I’ve Said to a Woman While Gyrating My Hips Sensually
Here’s a brief list of things I’ve said to a woman while gyrating my hips sensually:
• Better add this to your speed dial, girl.
• Uh-oh, looks like someone just set his phaser to “erotic.”
• Welcome to the supper club, milady.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized