© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Poetry Anthology 'Through This Door' Showcases Wisconsin In A Different Light

“Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems” is a first collection of its kind and includes poems from Wisconsin Poets Laureates across the state. ";s:

In U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s book “Crazy Brave” she wrote, “When beloved Sun rises, it is an entrance, a door to fresh knowledge.”

This quote served as an inspiration and call to action for Wisconsin Poet Laureate Margaret Rozga. She, along with Madison Poet Laureate Angie Trudell Vasquez, co-edited the new poetry anthology “Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems.”

From literal to metaphorical doors, the poems serve as a way to see Wisconsin through the minds of all eight Wisconsin Poets Laureate, plus city and regional poets laureate to make a racially and geographically inclusive book.

"Through This Door" is divided into four sections: Through This Door, Fresh Knowledge, In the Quiet, and Each Sunrise. Over 50 poems reflect memories of the past, struggles of the present and hopes for the future.

Trudell Vasquez says that the four sections came about naturally while they were editing the book, and that as they searched for new poems to include, they often found ones that filled holes in the book they didn’t even knew existed.

“When you do a collection and you send a call-out, the universe gives you the poems you need for that collection and it’s really serendipitous," Trudell Vasquez says. "But it’s also kinda like a beautiful thing that the universe gives back to you."

The book marks the first time Wisconsin Poets Laureate have all worked on a project together, and for Rozga, that meant balancing each voice.

“One of the things that I thought from the beginning was that I didn’t want any one voice to dominate," Rozga says. "That I wanted the poems to play off against each other."

As Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate, Rozga says people often tell her they don’t understand poetry or see it only as light reading, but she says this book and all poetry offer human connection.

“There’s this intimate view, this identification, this breaking down of interpersonal barriers that comes when you read somebody else’s poem and you see them so much from the inside,” says Rozga.

Angela Trudell Vasquez reads Chuck Stebelton's poem "Sturtevant," featured in the new poetry anthology.
Margaret Rogza reads Reggie Finlayson's poem "I To Eye," featured in the new poetry anthology.
Angela Trudell Vasquez reads Ethel Mortenson Davis' poem called "She Did Not Know," featured in the new poetry anthology.
Margaret Rozga reads Brenda Cárdenas' poem "When We Open Our Door," written specifically for the new anthology.

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.