Oh, man. I love books. I really, really love books. I have over 700 of them: artist books, collections of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, museum catalogs…you name it. Woodland Pattern Book Center is the place for me. It's right around the corner from where I live, and boy, do THEY love books. I remember when Anne Kingsbury opened the place back in the early 80s; I would slowly shuffle my way through the stacks, lovingly brushing my hands across the shelves, or gently opening a one-of-a-kind, hand-made artist book hidden away like a delicate sea-shell in the drawers amongst other delicate sea-shells. I even read there a few times for some sort of Milwaukee Writer's Seminar event a loooong time ago, and took my students (I was teaching at Pius XI High School from 1997-2000) to the bookstore so they could experience it for themselves.
Woodland Pattern has perhaps THE biggest collections of poetry and chapbooks one has ever seen. Additionally, it has a lovely ambiance; it's quiet, quaint, warm, and divided into different rooms. I like that. I met with Ann to talk about the humble beginnings of this historic Milwaukee bookstore, and was given an insider's tour of one of my old hang-outs.
(the owner, Anne Kingsbury, and her famous braids)