AWST Press

Vida Cross teaches English literature and creative writing at Milwaukee Area Technical College. But the Chicago native practices what she teaches at MATC and has just published her first book of poetry.

geargodz / Fotolia

In-laws can be difficult to win over, and as poet Jenny Benjamin points out, sometimes the work is just as physical as it is emotional.


Milwaukee poet Ed Makowski shares through minute observations, what separates the "I" from the "You," while at the same time showing how similar we all are:

You can't debate with memory

or slow dance a regret

The music of my youth
will always mean more
than the music of yours

How does the insect population hope to support
the spider population in my garage?

The ape I am derived from is no more superior
than the ape you are derived from

clownbusiness / Fotolia

We’re fortunate to have a chance to hear from some remarkable poets, from around the world and around our own area on Lake Effect

Jonathan Shoemaker / Aja-Monet/Facebook

It’s hard to encapsulate a person’s life and experiences in printed words. No matter how eloquent the writing, there will always be moments and pieces left to speculation. This was one of Aja Monet’s biggest worries when she first considered publishing her poetry.

By day, Stephen Anderson is a psychologist whose practice is based in Milwaukee. But in his spare time, Anderson is also a well-regarded poet, with many published works to his name. His latest collection, In the Garden of Angels and Demons features a mix of old and new poems, which vary in both form and content. Anderson will read from the collection for an event at Boswell Book Company on Wednesday, May 24.

A Discovery

Steve / Fotolia

There are volumes of books dedicated to the art of interpreting poetry. And often, poetry is a way for writers to re-interpret the world around them and search for understanding. Writer Christianna Fritz' poems "After the Proposal," and "Meeting Her," do exactly that. 

The first poem explores the motives and complicated lives of characters in another, longer piece by Fritz. The second is a re-imagination of her grandmother, whom she never met, and what her life was like on the family farm.

After the proposal

Mark Lacy

This weekend in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets holds its annual conference. Most of it is a private affair, but the noteworthy exception is the public reading by one of the nation’s most-honored poets, Mark Doty.

Poem: Dappled Things

Jan 26, 2017
Photocenter / Fotolia

Poet Jenny Benjamin reflects on writing poetry, spotted dogs, and the 'dappled things' that make up an average day. 

Glory be to God for dappled things…
All things counter, original, spare, strange…

- From “Pied Beauty” Gerard Manley Hopkins

For thirty-five years, Ed Block taught English at Marquette University. And though he continues at the university as a professor emeritus, his current work is more rooted in the writing world. 

The Milwaukee poet's new collection is called Anno Domini. Like much of Block's work, his new collection explores religious themes and references his Catholic beliefs.

Block believes that many poets - even those who don't ascribe to a particular religion - use spirituality as a source for their writing. 

Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Poet Jodie Hollander's aim is to make words sing, no matter where in the world she is writing them. 

Hollander was born and raised in Milwaukee. But for the past two decades, she has been traveling the world developing her craft.

Poem: Gift

Dec 6, 2016
Tomasz Zajda / Fotolia

In a city like Milwaukee, summertime brings mixed blessings. For many, summer heat means the return of festivals, outside dining, and long walks in the park. For others, it's a season rife with danger. Local poet and teacher, Jenny Benjamin, reflects on a summer night that changed her life forever. 

As both a psychologist and a poet, Sarah Rosenblatt has a unique advantage in dissecting the psyche of the average person. The family psychologist says she uses her work as a way of connecting with people, creating poems that speak to the curiousness of life and the human condition.

"I tend to write a lot about time passing, about human vulnerability, about - just the strangeness of time passing and the strangeness of kind of being alive, being human," says Sarah Rosenblatt. "That's definitely what interests me in general." 

Voyagerix / Fotolia

Have you ever been in a public space – after it’s closed to the public?  Poet and Lake Effect contributor Christianna Fritz has:

The Quiet Work

The mall is dark now,
rides folded with tentacle tucked in
brakes quiet
beast sleeping,
while something small, mouse or cockroach
scurries under a bench.

After closing time,
only the janitors make noise
swishing broom and humming vacuum,
comfortable silence of placing can in receptacle
mopping gelato from tile.

Poem: Family Camp

Sep 1, 2016
Charles Knowles / Flickr

For many of us, summer offers that rare opportunity to get away and spend some time with the people we love. You might have a special place you retreat each year.

But as Milwaukee poet Jenny Benjamin can attest – going to that special place also means you have to leave it, as well.