The Pride Reading

June commemorates the Stonewall uprising of 1969, when gays, lesbians, and transgender people fought back against a police raid, demanding fair treatment. Prior to Stonewall, patrons of gay bars were frequently arrested for wearing fewer than three pieces of “gender appropriate” clothing, beaten, photographed, and fired. From Boston marriages to McCarthyism to the Compton’s Cafeteria protest to AIDS to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to marriage equality and beyond, the history of LGBTQ people is a history of the struggle for personal freedom in America. Join us as the Watershed Reading Series at Arts + Literature Laboratory celebrates Pride Month with a reading from Joey Belonger, Bridget Birdsall, Lissa McLaughlin, Ali Muldrow, Alaura Seidl, Abigail Swetz, and Tobias Wray--seven poets who examine not only what it means to be LGBTQ in Wisconsin today, but also what it means to be human.

The Watershed Reading Series is supported by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Inc, charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. 

Madison Wisconsin Poet Joey Belonger

Joey Belonger is a genderqueer poet, digital artist, and upcoming MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. They are the recipient of the Hicks Prize in Poetry, the Tichenor Prize, and the Bertrand A. Goldgar London Fellowship. Recent poems have appeared in Tropos. They currently coach students with cognitive differences here in Madison. 

Madison WI Writer and YA Yoga Meditation Bridget Birdsall

Bridget Birdsall, MFA, is a multi-disciplinary artist, an award-winning author, educator and inspirational speaker who overcame dyslexic challenges to pursue her dream to write books that make a difference, especially in the lives of young people. Bridget teaches writing, yoga, and daylong workshops that inspire others to dream big, to be who they are and to live authentic lives. To learn more visit


Lissa McLaughlin prose poet Madison Wisconsin

Lissa McLaughlin has her M.A. in fiction writing from Brown University. Four of her books (the latest in 2015) were published by Burning Deck Press in Providence. Lissa has taught fiction writing at The Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco State University, University of California-Berkeley Extension, and UW-Madison. Currently she works in McFarland as an expressive arts facilitator with children with autism. She also edits short fiction, novels, and work for young audiences.


Ali Muldrow Wisconsin poet spoken word artist

Ali Muldrow is a parent, partner, writer, instructor, advocate, and doula. She began her work in education in 2006 when she became the after school spoken word club liaison for the East High School in partnership with UW-Madison’s First Wave program. Ali played a key role in creating Wisconsin’s first Spoken Word class; a class that allowed high school students to receive academic credit for their study of urban art forms. Ali facilitated the Spoken Word course for 4 years as an artist in residence at East High School in Madison, WI. Ali went on to partner with Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) to create and host spoken word clubs at 5 Madison public high schools. Ali is currently the Director of Youth Programming and Inclusion at GSAFE, where she has for the last three years authored the curriculum for and taught Foundations of Leadership, a course based in the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth of color that recruits high school students from the entire Madison public... Read More

Madison Wisconsin Writer Alaura Seidl

Alaura Seidl is a queer+feminist educator, writer, and socially engaged artist based in Madison, WI. Alaura is the director of the ArtWrite Collective.

Abigail Swetz Wisconsin spoken word artist poet

Abigail Swetz is a public middle school teacher and GSA advisor.  In the past year, she has performed her solo performance piece about teaching in Kansas City and New York, she has taught 58 students to love spoken word, and she has spoken in front of 100,000 people at the Women's March on Madison.  She has also been named GSAFE's 2017 Educator of the Year.


Tobias Wray Wisconsin poet

Tobias Wray is a poetry editor for the cream city review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Bellingham Review, Third Coast, Wasafiri: International Contemporary Writing and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Poetry and Translation from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At UWM, he coordinates Eat Local :: Read Local, a program that partners local restaurants with poets from Milwaukee and Madison. This fall he’ll be moving to Moscow, Idaho to take over as the MFA Program Director for the University of Idaho. 

Ready to Visit?

Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.


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