Susan Firer

Recent and Forthcoming Publications and Events

Great News

The University of Nebraska Press reissued Susan Firer’s The Laugh We Make When We Fall (August 2021).

On May 28, 2020, Carmelle Liepins’ film Imprinted With Lake Light, which looks at the life and poetry of Susan Firer, was screened as part of the Switzerland International Film Festival, as part of their Documentary Film Screenings.

On October 3, 2019, Imprinted With Lake Light was screened at the Milwaukee Public Library Central Library, Centennial Hall.

Firer’s poem titled “Transubstantiation” was in the November 12, 2018 issue of The New Yorker.

Susan Firer’s sixth and most recent book, The Transit of Venus, was named as an “Outstanding Work of Poetry” by the Wisconsin Library Association's 2017 Literary Awards Committee.

Susan Firer was awarded a 2015 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry. The fellowship is to “enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement.” Download a list of the 2015 Creative Writing Fellowship winners.

Forthcoming Events

As part of the 2023 Death’s Door Dance Festival, Kelly Anderson is performing the Weight of Skin on Friday, July 28th at 6:00 pm at the Wickham House in Elison Bay. The Weight of Skin is a work based on Susan Firer’s poem “The Beautiful Pain of Too Much,” choreographed by Janet Lilly. The Weight of Skin was previously performed at St. Mark’s in the Bowery, New York City and at the 2010 Milwaukee Lakefront Festival of the Arts.

Also on July 29, 2023, Janet Lilly’s interactive workshop of words and movement in choreography will take place in Sister Bay, Wi. For more information visit the Death’s Door Dance Festival site.

Forthcoming Publications

Firer’s poems “Diacritical Marks” and “In Skunked Winds” are forthcoming in Oxeye Reader’s Milwaukee Edition.

Recent Publications

University of Zurich’s English Department--Zurich in Anglophone Literatures published Firer’s “Under the Blue Angel in the Zurich Train Station,” on August 25, 2021.

Firer’s poem “8 minutes 46 seconds” is in The Wisconsin Historical Society Press’ Hope Is the Thing, Editor B.J. Hollars. The publication date is Fall 2021.

Firer’s poem “Watch” is in Sheltering with Poems: Community & Connection during Covid, edited by Bruce Dethlefsen, Kathleen Serley & Angela Voras-Hills (Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets & Bent Paddle Press, 2021).

Firer’s poem “He Is Trying to Get Home from the Store” is included in The Language Of Loss: Poetry and Prose for Grieving and Celebrating the Love of Your Life, which is edited by Barbara Abercrombie (New World Library, 2020).

Firer’s poem titled “Transubstantiation” was in the November 12, 2018 issue of the The New Yorker.

Firer's “Leaving O'Hare Airport” and “Sentences I Never Thought I Would Say” were published CONDUIT (No. 28/Winter 2018)

“Wilfred Owen Said” was in the Summer 2017 issue of the North American Review.

Firer's “Repetition Works for the Moon” was published in Matthew Zapruder's Column in the February 19, 2017, New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Firer has four new poems in the Milwaukee anthology titled Return to the Gathering Place of the Waters (2017).

Firer's poems “The Dog Stars” and “As If Made of Blue Legos” are in a Backwaters Press 20th anniversary anthology titled Watching the Perseids (2017).

“Saint Valentine's Day, 1967” in the anthology Far Out: Poems of the 60s (Wings Press, 2016).

“Vernal Ponds” was published in the 2016 Wisconsin Poets' Calendar.

“Hymn” and “Repetition Works for the Moon” in Big Scream 54: Sacred Lands & Water Issue (Fall 2015).

Firer's “The Song Asked if My Ears Were on Straight” appeared in the Spring 2015 North American Review.

“Expect on Valentine's Day” in Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, 2015.

“Whitman's Voice” in Little Eagle's RE/Verse on May 30, 2014.

“Reading My Ántonia” in Verse Wisconsin 113, April 2014.

“Dear New Year” in Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, 2014.

“Memorial Day” and “Candlemas” in the anthology Burden of Light: poems on illness and loss, edited by Tanya Chernov (Fast Forward, 2014).

“Here”, “Wind”, and “Bowling with Brides” in Verse Wisconsin 113-114, April 2014.

Recent Presentations

On December 1, 2022, Susan Firer introduced us to her professional papers recently donated to the UWM Archives and how they speak to her personal history and the history of Milwaukee. This event was held in the American Geographical Society Library, located on the third floor, east wing of the UWM Golda Meir Library, 2311 E. Hartford Ave., Milwaukee.

On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, at 7PM, Susan Firer did a reading at the Whitefish Bay Public Library. The reading was to celebrate National Poetry Month, and was sponsored by the Whitefish Bay Garden Club. Attend via zoom at this link or in-person at the Whitefish Bay Public Library, 2nd Floor Program Room.

On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, Susan Firer, along with Vida Cross, Eloisa Gómez, Canese Jarboe, and C.J. Scruton read for the second (and final) installment of Poetry in the Park's sixth season.

On April 19th, at 7PM, at Woodland Pattern, Ars Poetica, re: Milwaukee Poets was a bisection of Milwaukee’s thriving, burgeoning, and historied community of poets. In a series of individual micro-documentaries, poets Dasha Kelly Hamilton, Peter Burzynski, Chuck Stebelton, Destinny Fletcher, Susan Firer, and Jenny Janzer speak, simply, on poetry. This screening showcased all six micro documentaries, each running 6-10 minutes in length. Each documentary combines a filmed interview and poetry reading. There was a brief talk back after the screening to further explore poetry in Milwaukee. Ars Poetica was created by Sam Pekarske, Kristin Peterson Kaszubowski, Sam Kirchoff, Ceci Elsbernd, and Serbata Tarrer and filmed at Woodland Pattern Book Center. More information at

Nature Poetry Reading: World-Woods-Words
Thursday April 25, 2019 | 6:30pm-8:30pm
Nature poetry invites us to look more closely at the world, both large and small. In celebration of National Poetry Month and Earth Day, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center hosted Wisconsin poets Brenda Cardenas, Susan Firer, Alessandra Simmons, and Angela Sorby to read from their work and discuss the evolving landscape of nature poetry, navigating the intersection of ecology, poetry, eco-justice, and our deep connection to the land. After the reading there was a meet & greet with the authors and book signing.

On February 1-3, University of Wisconsin's Dance Department presented Winterdances 2019: Refuge. Two of Firer's poems (“This Big Blue House” and “The Gray Shape of Wasps' Nests,” one read by Firer, one read by Flora Coker), were included in Simone Ferro's choreographed piece “The Gray Shape of Wasps' Nests.”

On April 24, 2018, at Saint John's On The Lake Cultural Arts Center (1840 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI, 53202), Firer read with Maurice Kilwein Guevara.

On May 23, 2018, Firer, along with other poets published in The Return to the Gathering Place of the Waters anthology, was part of a reading celebrating the one year anniversary of the anthology.

On Nov. 16, 2017, in Fond du Lac, WI, Susan Firer and Max Garland read at THELMA (51 Sheboygan St.), as part of THELMA's Lake Reading Series. For more information visit the THELMA website

Susan Firer was one of the poets reading at Woodland Pattern's 37th Annual Anniversary Gala! The event was held on November 3rd, at Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts 2419 E Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee, WI.

On June 15th, at 7:30 at Var Gallery, in Walker's Point, Firer read in the “Poets Read Some Stuff Someplace in Milwaukee” series, hosted by Sam Pekarske. Other readers that evening included Paul Vogel, Amanda Reavy, and Ton Johnson.

Susan Firer and Deborah Fries read as part of the Moonstone Poetry Series at Fergie's Pub (1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA) on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at 7pm.

On March 14th, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, Woodland Pattern is excited to host a poetry reading with Susan Firer & Matt Cook. There will be pie and coffee courtesy of Honeypie Cafe and Anodyne in celebration of everyone's favorite mathematical constant! More information at

On February 9th, Susan Firer had two events in Washington, D.C. at AWP. From 10:30-11:45am, Firer was part of a reading titled: The Backwaters Press Celebrates 20 Years, in celebration of the press and a new anthology titled: Watching the Perseids: The Backwaters Press Celebrates 20 Years, at USC Dornsife Bookfair Stage 2. The second event was a book signing, at 3pm at the BWP Booth #973. For more information see the flyer.

On Thursday, November 3rd, 2016, 7pm, Firer read from her newest book of poems The Transit of Venus, at Boswell Book Company, 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee, WI, 53211.

I’d like to invite you to join cream city review for an amazing literary community event at Cream City Live! 40th Anniversary Celebration. Not only will the Mayor proclaim April 15th the City of Milwaukee’s cream city review Day, but there will also be a very special reading featuring work by Wisconsin Poet Laureate Kimberley Blaeser, former Milwaukee Poet Laureate Susan Firer, and Ihab Hassan, whose work will be read by cream city review’s incoming faculty advisor Liam Callahan. Please visit the link above or cream city review's official webpage for other information regarding cream city review. The event will take place on Friday, April 15th from 7-9 p.m. In UWM’s Greene Hall (3347 North Downer Avenue).

On Friday, March 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the The Penthouse/Loft Space at Kenilworth Square East, RM 620 (1925 East Kenilworth Place, Milwaukee), Susan Firer will read Ginsberg's “Howl” as part of Pioneers of the Art. Others performing include Stefano Barone, Bob Reitman, Rick Silberman, Ben Kammin, Rachael Carlson and Sam Balistreri. For more information see the poster.

On Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 2 p.m. at Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall (733 N. Eighth St. Loos Room), Susan Firer read as part of an event focusing on Found Poetry, which Matt Cook, Milwaukee's current poet laureate, has orchestrated. Other poets reading that day are Matt Cook, Timothy Kloss, Kiki Anderson, Philo T. Ogden, Zack Pieper, Mike Hauser, Grace Mitchell and Soham Patel.

Susan Firer, Tobias Wray, Lindsay Daigle, and other special guests read at Juneau Park on Tuesday, August 11, 2015. The event was organized by the Juneau Park Friends and took place at the Solomon Juneau statue.

Monday, June 8, 2015, at 7:00PM, as part of the Schlitz Audubon's World of Nature Series. Susan Firer will read a selection of poems of place, featuring poems connected to Lake Michigan and other works that use nature's imagery. The reading will be at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (1111 Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee).

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, Susan Firer will be part of Michael Feldman's live Whad'Ya Know Radio Hour broadcast (10AM to noon) at the historic Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee.

On April 22, 2015, at 7:30 PM, as part of The Ineluctable reading series, Susan Firer and Keith Gaustad will read at Microlights (2543 N. Bremen St.).

Susan Firer's poetry was part of composer and performer Jerome Kitzke's April 10, 2015 concert, Jerome Kitzke: Winter Count and Howl! Music in Poetry - Poetry in Music, at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center.

On January 2, 2015, Firer, along with Paul Hansen Clark, Amanda Huckin & others, read at People's Books, as part of the “Supplementary launch” for BURDOCK XIV.

Susan Firer read with Dorothea Lasky on April 26th, 2014, at Woodland Pattern, Milwaukee, WI.