Woodland Pattern Book Center

Click the image to learn more. A display inside the Woodland Pattern Book Center featuring pamphlets and booklets in 2010.

Woodland Pattern Book Center is Milwaukee’s hub for individuals who are passionate about non-mainstream poetry and literature. Founded by Karl Young, Karl Gartung, and Anne Kingsbury in 1979, it is located on 720 E. Locust Street in the city’s Riverwest neighborhood. It carries over 25,000 volumes, mostly works of avant-garde poetry from independent and small presses.[1] The Center’s aim is to bring this cutting-edge poetry, which is often hard to find in larger booksellers, to this community. Although most of the books at Woodland Pattern are for sale, only 30% of its funding comes from the sale of books. Instead, it relies on grants and donations to keep its doors open.[2]

But it is much more than just a bookstore—co-founder Kingsbury describes it as a “nonprofit literary art center.”[3] It hosts monthly poetry readings as well as small concerts, film screenings, art exhibitions, and writing workshops for both adults and children. One of its most popular events is its yearly poetry marathon, where poetry is continuously read before audiences of over a hundred people for as many as ten hours straight. The center has opened its doors to numerous well-known poets and artists, including Allen Ginsberg and Laurie Anderson.[4] Woodland Pattern’s dedication to bringing exceptional talent to the community has enriched the Riverwest neighborhood and the entire Milwaukee metro area.

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ Mary Vuk, “Woodland Pattern—25 Years,” Riverwest Currents (Milwaukee, WI), October 2005.
  2. ^ Kevin Flaherty, “Woodland Pattern Book Center,” Riverwest Currents (Milwaukee, WI), May 2003.
  3. ^ Tam Nguyen, “Celebrating the Word: Woodland Pattern Marks 30th Anniversary,” Shepherd Express (Milwaukee, WI), November 10, 2010.
  4. ^ Vuk, “Woodland Pattern—25 Years.”

For Further Reading

Non-Profit Bookstores.” Blog post on Three Percent: A Resource for International Literature at the University of Rochester website, August 14, 2008, last accessed July 26, 2017.


Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. Encyclopedia of Milwaukee reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Copyright, Privacy, and Terms & Conditions.

Have a suggestion for a new topic? Please use the Site Contact Form.

Leave a Comment