Mission-driven and non-profit since 1980
Woodland Pattern is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit book center, gallery, and performance space located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For forty years and counting, we have been dedicated to the discovery, cultivation, and presentation of poetry, independent literature, and the arts. Each year we host 350+ programs and events—including workshops, poetry performances, concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, and programs for children and youth.
In addition to our programming efforts, the dissemination of independent literature—particularly poetry, unconventional texts, works that honor bookmaking as a visual art, books by small- and micro-press publishers, and literature by writers from historically marginalized backgrounds—has been central to our purpose since our founding. As a result of four decades of mission-driven inventory decisions, Woodland Pattern is home to the largest collection of haiku in North America, the largest Native American section in Wisconsin, and our collection of contemporary poetry is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the United States. We also house a sizable collection of works by writers from Wisconsin and throughout the Upper Midwest, including hundreds of self-published books. Unlike a commercial bookseller, our acquisitions have never been based on profitability but on mission fit, which also means we hold onto titles indefinitely, as we believe in their permanent value.
Currently Woodland Pattern is closed to the public due to the pandemic, but when we re-open, we will once again serve as a reading room where you can read onsite without pressure to purchase. For now, we hope you will enjoy browsing our collection and discovering books, authors, and presses you may be unfamiliar with. In preparation for the launch of this online shop, we have been working hard to frame and organize our inventory in ways that will be educational. That said, we are a small staff and this site is a work in progress. While our tagging system isn't perfect, we are committed to continually improving it.
Please also note that we have not yet been able to make all of our collection available online (at writing, only about 5% of our inventory)—we will continue to add more and more titles over time. Please check back for updates and feel free to reach out to us with questions about publications not featured here that we may have in stock. We also accept special-order requests. Finally, if you are an author or publisher and wish to consign with us, please be in touch. Thank you for supporting our work and the work of poets, writers, and independent publishers across the country.
Online Workshop: I, the Revolution with Dasha Kelly Hamilton
Thurs. Aug. 13, 20, 27 | 6–8 pm CDT each day
From antiquity, poetry has extracted truth, challenged anthems and elevated soul consciousness. I, the Revolution explores resistance and power, with conversations about life and poetry in between. There will be conversation and consideration, and we’re going to scribble poems and prose along the way. (Please note: This is not a writing course.)
Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist, and creative change agent. Through responsive and respectful intentionality, Dasha leverages the creative process to facilitate critical dialogues around human and social wellness. Dasha delivers her engagement sessions to campuses, classrooms, correctional institutions, association conferences, social service agencies, municipal departments and team retreats. She is currently serving as Milwaukee’s Poet Laureate. Her nonprofit, Still Waters Collective, has curated poetry programming and spoken word events in the region for almost 20 years.
Woodland Pattern Book Center
720 E Locust St
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Tues - Fri, 11am - 8pm
Sat - Sun, 12pm - 5pm
Please remember when placing orders that we are a nonprofit with a small staff. Items ordered from Woodland Pattern will take longer to arrive by mail than they would from a commercial bookseller. Please also note that all of our in-house broadsides are limited edition and printed on the occasion of an author’s visit. Broadside purchases of a single edition are limited to two per person. Thank you!