Perseverance Through Poetry: Dan Scheidell


An award ceremony recognizing Guest of Honor Daniel Scheidell’s use of poetry to overcome an extraordinary ordeal and help others discover poetry’s power.

You are cordially invited to join us at 7pm on Friday, November 30th at the Rhode Theater in downtown Kenosha for cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres, and a moving evening of poetic fellowship. Semi-formal attire optional.

More about Dan:
Dan was wrongly convicted in Racine and incarcerated for two decades before being exonerated with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. During that time, he used poetry as a lifeline to keep his hope alive. Learn more here and chip in

This event is sponsored by the Kenosha-Racine Poets Laureate Program.

BONK! 117 @ The Eco-Justice Center


This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at the Eco-Justice Center, 7133 Michna Road, Racine, WI, on Saturday, August 11th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be modern jazz guitarist, Dave Miller; composer and saxophonist, Jonah Parzen Johnson; and spoken word musician, Discopoet Kari B.

Dave Miller is a truly unique musical product of both Brooklyn and Chicago. Dave Miller (Algernon, Cuneiform Records; Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls, Delmark Recordings; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Joe Policastro Trio, Jeru Jazz) finds his newest instrumental iteration in the psychedelic-roots songwriting of Old Door Phantoms. Lingering melodies and vintage tones juxtapose against guitar experimentalism and jangly, hypnotic rhythms. Grammy-winning music journalist, Neil Tesser, cites Miller “among my favorite modern guitarists” ( The broad-minded musician’s “impressive flexibility” can range “from carefully structured improvisations to complementary texture and color” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader) while still “making a listener feel inches from the guitar” (Mark Keresman, New York City Jazz Record). For his summer 2018 tour in support of the release, Miller will be performing these songs in a very special intimate solo setting.

Jonah Parzen Johnson is a Brooklyn NY based saxophonist & composer. His third solo album was released by Clean Feed Records in July 2017. His solo music combines baritone saxophone with analog synthesizers to make unedited, un-looped, solo experimental music. He recently completed a successful European tour, as well as a complete North American releases tour, last July. Jonah has been featured in many press outlets including the NY Times, LA Times, Downbeat Magazine, XL8R, Impose Magazine, and All About Jazz. Highlights of the tour include headlining shows at Cultergest (Lisbon, Portugal), Union Pool (NYC), The Hungry Brain (Chicago), and Bootleg Theater (LA), as well as appearances at Suoni Per il Popolo Festival (Montreal), The CMG Improvisors Summit (Portland OR), Le Zorba in (Paris, France), Bar Mirwaar (Ghent, Belgium).

Khari B., also known as Discopoet Khari B. is a spoken word musician, author and educator working internationally in the literary art. He is the founder of Discopoetry Arts & Edutainment Collective. He’s recorded two albums, appeared on several others, produced and directed numerous multidisciplinary productions and has taught the art and lectured in schools across the world in the last ten years. A recent Chair of the Association for the Advancement of the Creative Musicians (AACM), Khari led the organization into their 50th anniversary, being instrumental in producing some of their most exciting, celebratory programming in years. Presently he is the Artist-In-Residence at the prestigious Purdue University while continuing to teach, create, produce and perform wherever he is called with his philosophy “Make it happen.”

BONK! 116 @ The Nurturing Center

William Stobb is the author of five poetry collections, including the National Poetry Series winner, Nervous Systems, and Absentia, both from Penguin Books. He works on the editorial staff of Conduit and teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Denise Sweet is faculty emerita, having taught Humanistic Studies, Creative Writing, and First Nations Studies for the UW-System. Her books of poetry include Know By Heart (Rhiannon Press), Songs For Discharming (Greenfield Press), Days Of Obsidian, Days Of Grace (Poetry Harbor), and Nitaawichige (Poetry Harbor; the latter a four-author collection). In 1998, Songs For Discharging won both the WI Posner Award for Poetry, and the Diane Decorah Award, given by the North American Indigenous Writers Circle of the Americas. In 2004, Gov. James Doyle appointed Sweet as WI’s
Poet Laureate (4-year term); the 2nd laureate named for the state of Wisconsin.
Brent Mitchell has done a little bit of everything, including working for five years as a cowboy on a Texas ranch. As a teenager, he traveled the country on foot, and for decades he traveled extensively as a musician. He’s written songs for movies, and for recording and publishing companies including Sony and Decca, one of which was Grammy listed in 2005. He was featured on PBS’s Texas Music Cafe, and at a number of major music festivals including South by Southwest, and over the years has recorded a number of CDs. In 1999, Brent and his wife Stephanie moved from Texas to Oxford England, and in 2002 came to Carthage College where she teaches as a historian of Latin America. They and their four children live still in Kenosha, where Brent recently completed two years as Kenosha’s poet laureate and published his first collection called Mermaids, Cowboys, and the Lord of Death. Along with writing and performing poetry, music, and “doing all sorts of other stuff,” he teaches World Religions at Carthage College.

BONK!athon – A Talent Marathon Fundraiser


BONK!athon is a pledge-driven fundraiser where people raise money for a 5-minute performance slot on stage to perform a poem, song, dance, short story, monologue, skit, comedy routine, Etc. This marathon of talent continues for 4 to 6 hours. There will be food and beverage available as well as a 50/50 raffle.

Admission is $10 per person. Children 12 and younger are free. Performers and donors who contribute $35 or more before the event will also gain free admission. There will be food and beverage available as well as a 50/50 raffle.

We are looking for performers and artists of all ages and types to collect pledges and perform at the event. $35 must be raised for each 5-minute slot. All the proceeds will go towards curating new performers and supporting our volunteers.

If you are interested in performing at BONK!athon or if you have any questions, please contact us via email at or call us at 262-989-2930 between the hours of 10 am and 10 pm. You can also find out more about BONK!athon at

BONK! 114 @ 6th Street Theater


This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at the 6th Street Theater, 318 6th Street, on Saturday, March 24th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be: UW-Madison professor and poet, Timothy Yu; Chicago blues poet, Vida Cross; and Chicago folk duo, Jeremy David Miller and his wife Bekah Miller.


Timothy Yu is the author of the poetry collection 100 Chinese Silences, an editor’s selection in the NOS Book Contest from Les Figues Press.  He is also the author of three chapbooks: 15 Chinese Silences, Journey to the West, and, with Kristy Odelius, Kiss the Stranger.  His writing has appeared in Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, TYPO, and The New Republic.  His scholarly work includes Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford) and an edited collection, Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets (Kelsey Street).  He lives in Madison, where he is professor of English and Asian American studies at UW-Madison


Vida Cross is a blues poet.  Her work references her ancestry as a third generation Chicagoan, a Bronzeville resident, the artwork of Archibald J. Motley Jr. and Langston Hughes.  She received an MFA in Writing and an MFA in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a MA in English from Iowa State University and a BA in English-writing and History from Knox College.  Her book of poems, Bronzeville at Night: 1949, was released in 2017.  She is a Cave Canem Fellow.  Her work has appeared in The Creativity and Constraint Anthology for Wising Up Press, A Civil Rights Retrospective with the Black Earth Institute, Tabula Poetica with Chapman University, Transitions Magazine at the Hutchinson Institute, the Cave Canem Anthology XII: Poems 2008-2009, The Literary Review with Fairleigh Dickinson University, Reed Magazine at Reed College, and The Journal of Film and Video from The University of Illinois, Chicago.


Jeremy David Miller has been writing his own style of folk songs for some 15 years.  Along with help from partner and wife Bekah Miller, the two deliver everything from charming love songs to wandering lyrical quests of death with ease and entertainment.  From Chicago, IL The Millers have built a musical repertoire that keeps fans interested and never disappointed.

BONK! 113 @ The Grind Cafe


This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at The Grind Cafe,7300 Washington Avenue, on Saturday, February 24th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be: Southeast Wisconsin poet, Manar Mohammad; and Madison poet and lecturer, Adam Fell.
Manar Mohammad is a poet who began writing poetry as a way to better piece together her identity after experiencing life abroad and in the U.S. She hopes her work offers a perspective on the narrative of the Muslim American identity while simultaneously breaking down media stereotypes and open doors to dialogue and understanding. She spends most of her time studying medicine between working on poetry, and she hopes to practice medicine while simultaneously using her skills in language as a way to bridge different cultures and backgrounds while documenting the stories of those who will shape her into a physician.
Adam Fell is the author of two books of poetry: Dear Corporation, (H_NGM_N Books, 2014) and I Am Not a Pioneer, winner of the Posner Best Poetry Book Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers (H_NGM_N Books, 2011). He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (M.F.A., 2008) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.A. 2003), and currently teaches creative writing, composition, and literature at Edgewood College in Madison, WI where he also co-curates the Monsters of Poetry reading series.

3rd Annual Mary Finley and Marcie Eanes Memorial Black History Month Read-In

3rd annual BH poster

The Racine Public Library in collaboration with The Dr. John Bryant Community Center for the Arts, Family Power Music, Coming Together Racine, The Racine Branch NAACP, and the BONK! performance series invites you to The Third Annual “Mary Finley and Marcie Eanes Memorial Black History Month Read-In”*.  This event will be held in the Adult Services Department of the Racine Public Library, near the east windows, on Thursday, February 22nd from 6 til 8:30pm.

A Black History Month Read-In is an event where community members of all different backgrounds join together to celebrate the vibrant legacy of black contributions to world literature.  Here’s how it will work: anyone interested in signing up is given 5 minutes to read a piece (or an excerpt of a piece) of writing written by someone from the black diaspora.  

Because the purpose of this event is to highlight the copious, diverse contributions of all black people to literature, and because we want to illustrate the great breadth of those contributions as much as possible in two and a half short hours, we will not be having ANY repeats of authors.  Sign up fast so you can be sure you’ll get to read from the author you want to celebrate most!

To respect everyone’s time, there is a limited number of only 20 spots we can fill.  Anyone is welcome to sign up, but do so now because spots won’t last.  To sign up, please RSVP with the following information:

  1. Your name, e-mail and phone number
  2. If you are younger than 21, your age
  3. Name of your Author
  4. Name of the piece you’ll be reading from
  5. If your piece is child appropriate or not (this will help us decide where in the evening to slot you

Please RSVP or send any further questions to Ciara Hartzog at or contact Nick Demske at 262-631-0021.

See you there!

*About the name of this event: Mary Finley and Marcie Eanes were two prominent black women residents of Racine who were inspirations both in the Racine community locally, as well as the literary community nationally–Mary as an ambassador and literary agent and Marcie as a writer herself and supporter of the arts.  Mary went to join the elders in 2014 and Marcie’s homegoing was last year in 2015.  Shortly before Marcie had passed away, she was chosen as one of the finalists for the Racine Poet Laureate position.  We are honored to be able to celebrate these two women as leaders of both Racine’s Black Community, as well as Racine’s Literary Community.