BONK! 141 on Facebook!

This month the BONK! Poetry and Music Series will be another virtual event, taking place on Saturday, Nov 21st, at 6 p.m. Featured performers will be: Milwaukee-based poet Su Cho, New Jersey-based poet Cortney Lamar Charleston and Kenosha-based musician Brent Mitchell.   You can come to the event by going to

Su Cho received her MA in English Literature and MFA in Poetry from Indiana University. She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Cream City Review after serving as Editor-in-Chief of Indiana Review. She is pursuing a PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is an Advanced Opportunity Fellow. Her poems are forthcoming and/or found in POETRY, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, The Journal, Crab Orchard Review, BOAAT, Thrush Poetry Review, PANK, Sugared Water, and elsewhere. 

Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies, selected by D.A. Powell for the2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, and the forthcoming Doppelgangbanger (Haymarket Books, 2021). He was awarded a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and he has also received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation Literary Festival and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, his poems have appeared in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Granta,The Nation and elsewhere. He serves as a poetry editor at The Rumpus and on the editorial board at Alice James Books. 

Brent Mitchell is a sculptor, painter, and songwriter/guitarist. A few years ago he was named Poet Laureate of Kenosha, and soon after published his first book of poetry:  Cowboys, Mermaids, and the Lord of Death. As a songwriter, Brent has written songs for publishing houses including Bug Music, and Tree Publishing, with writers from Sony, Decca, and SESAC, and has recorded a number of CDs. His songs are included in the movie Partners in Crime and in the 2018 film La Barracuda. In 2005 his song Hand of God was listed for a Grammy. In 2016, he obtained a Master’s degree in theology, and He continues to play music, and to write poetry, and has recently begun teaching religious studies at Carthage College where his wife, Dr. Stephanie Mitchell is a professor of history. Together they live in perfect serenity in their ivory tower just a few blocks from the college with their four impeccably behaved children. 

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.


Poet                     KENYATTA “THE LYRICAL LIONESS”
Poet                     BRENT MITCHELL
Poet                     JESSIE LYNN MCMAINS
Musicians            FEATherWOLF  
Kenyatta “The Lyrical Lioness” is the current president of the WI chapter of P.O.E.T (People of Extraordinary Talent). She is frequented on the local and national circuit; inclusive of performing on the main stage at the Black Women’s Expo as well as being selected as a featured performer for the Last Poets. She is a published author having five (5) pieces published in the P.O.E.T anthology Volume 1 entitled “Closed Mics Don’t Get Fed”.She also opened for the legendary Strawberri Taylor and the Verbal Intercourse staff; performing at venues around country. Her most recent accomplishments are being named the 2015 POET/HOST of the year, 2016 National Poetry Award winner for Video of the year and the first poet to ever perform at the UniverSoul Circus.
Brent Mitchell grew up in Texas with his hedonistic father—a poet who could, and tended to recite almost anything imaginable from his encyclopedic catalogue of memorized classic poems as long as his mind was sufficiently lubricated with tequila. Brent has been a Texas rancher, a street person, worked every kind of job imaginable, and lived and worked around the U.S. as well as the UK. At 17, he dropped out of high school to wander the US on foot. In 2016 he obtained a Master’s degree in theology— or what he calls “the science of pretending to know a lot about things that can’t be known.” He has been writing poetry for close to forty years. He now resides in Kenosha Wisconsin where he is the Poet Laureate.
Jessie Lynn McMains (aka Rust Belt Jessie) is a writer and zine-maker, and the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin. She has been self-publishing her work in zines and chapbooks since the mid-‘90s, and has been performing spoken word across the U.S. and Canada since 2001. Her words have recently appeared in The ChapessNew Pop LitRising Phoenix Review,Voicemail Poems, and Paper & Ink, amongst other places. When not writing or performing her own work, she teaches workshops on memoir, zines, and poetry.
FEATherWOLF is a duet project based out of Wisconsin, consisting of Sam Luna and Shaun Marie. Meeting in late 2015, both musicians decided to collaborate and began writing together as a duo. Both bring a unique sound to their shows by singing their own originals of different genres, while then coming together to perform original, old country-style duets. Both coming from different parts of the country, they have recently just finished their debut album, To: You, From: Me, a conceptual album that follows the universal story of a relationship between a man and a woman. In addition, they have made a personal commitment to raising money to provide underprivileged students the chance to rent or buy instruments, as well as receive music lessons, through their Making Noise program.

In Case You Missed It

This show was completely rebonkulous. Check out the videos below in case you missed the event … or if you just want to relive good times. There’s a quick promo video, and an intro clip, followed by separate videos of Matt Mulready and Brent Mitchell. We didn’t get a chance to shoot video of Jessika’s video, but we’re hoping she sends us a tasty ZIP file with that wonderfully raw montage we screened Saturday night. Lorrie has decided not to have her video posted on the site. However, we do have footage of Jessika speaking during the Q&A, which will be getting posted soon.

Here are some testimonials from satisfied BONKers:

Here’s Nicky-Poo introducing the series:

This is Racine poet Matt Mulready, with a selection of work:

And here’s Brent Mitchell performing his songs & a poem. (Apologies to Brent on our not including the second poem from his set in this video … People can only tolerate so much shaky-camera: Our bad.)

Bonk The First

It’s coming. Exactly the sort of diverse, cross-pollenating artistic extravaganza you’ve been waiting for with bated breath. The kind of performance series you’ve always wanted, but for which you’ve been afraid to ask. Behold, BONK!

October 25, 2008

Featured performers: Jessika Mikol of Racine (filmmaker), Lorrie Wilson of Milwaukee (poet), Matt Mulready of Racine (writer) and Brent Mitchell of Kenosha headlining (musician)

THERE IS NO FEE FOR ADMISSION TO THIS EVENT. That means it’s FREE, people. So there’s no excuse for not coming.

Blueberries restaurant, 418 Sixth Street, Downtown Racine, WI.

Food & drink will be available for purchase.