Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People, by Susan Firer

Author: Susan Firer Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People, By Susan Firer
Format: Paperback, 168 pages
ISBN: 0979393426
Published: October 2007

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Critical Praise for Susan Firer’s Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People

The best part about Milwaukee Does Strange Things To People is that, because it features almost three decades of work, it allows readers to witness Firer’s metamorphosis from a young, intellectual spitfire to a wise and reverent woman who’s still willing to dip a toe—or three—into the ever-changing lake.
Molly Snyder Edler –

Firer returns to themes that have remained throughout her career, often with wry humor and candor, but also a kind of sharp nostalgia, with veneration for that small gesture or place that is often overlooked. “Small Milwaukee Museums” lists a series of unlikely collisions of incident and place. The simple act of bathing her father in flower petals as a child combines the ephemeral and delicate nature of childhood with the gravity and yearning of adulthood in “Recovery.” A poem recounting a formative encounter with the power of poetry, “of bouquets of confusion, feasts of loss,” conjures the sweet pang of youthful discovery in “Mrs. Post’s 6th-hour English Class.” Like all exceptional poetry, it allows us to reach back into our own experiences and see in them an unqualified, fleeting splendor.
Aisha Motlani –


Susan Firer interviewed by WUMW about her collection Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People.

An animation for the poem “Call Me Pier” by  Paula Schultz for the Poetry Foundation.

Podcast from Thirdcoast Digest with Mark Metcalf.

One of StarTribunes “Five books: For your purse or pocket”.

Faculty page at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Poems from Susan Firer’s Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People

The Halo Factory

Under the granite clouds, through
the quinine rain and wind
-tree-downed warblers’ songs,
a man lopes the chicory
cliff yelling, “Grace,
GRACE.” He is running after
Grace. The brain’s spunk.
If I were Sunday, I’d ask
you whom you love enough
to elegize: St. Patrick? Depac?
A country? Your sister?
Hive to sound. Even here
—plashed with waves’ poultices,
the cop’s words: “I never
saw anyone who wanted to die so badly.”
The bulldozed heart writes
its quarries, queries, & quagmires
on the horizon’s tarnished waves’
explosive white-dress-flounce blurs
and ships’ watermarked steel canvasses.
In the garden, the Immortality
Iris waves, wearing its white-June
-prom-tulle. Small green
maple seeds stencil peace signs
on the wet cement. The silver
maple’s gold spinners halo air.

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