Wisconsin Poet Laureate              2015-16

Wisconsin Poet Laureate

   Kimberly Blaeser, writer, photographer, and scholar, served as Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2015-16. She is the author of four poetry collections—most recently Copper Yearning (2019) and Apprenticed to Justice; and the editor of Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry. Her scholarly study, Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition, was the first native-authored book-length study of an Indigenous author. A Professor of English and Indigenous Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Blaeser also serves on the faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program in Santa Fe.  Her writing has been included in more than 80 anthologies, and selections of her poetry translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Norwegian, Indonesian, Chinese, and Hungarian. She has performed her work at over 300 different venues around the globe from arctic Norway to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Her photographs, picto-poems, and ekphrastic poetry have been featured in various venues including the exhibits “Ancient Light” and “Visualizing Sovereignty.” A bi-lingual collection of her poetry, Résister en dansee/Dancing Resistance will be published in France in 2020.

An enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Blaeser grew up on White Earth Reservation. She is an editorial board member for the “American Indian Lives” series of the University of Nebraska Press and for the “Native American Series” of Michigan State University Press and serves on the boards of directors for the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Blaeser was named a 2020 Fellow by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, and has received both a Distinguished Public Service Award and an Outstanding Woman of Color Award from the University of Wisconsin. She has been the recipient of literary awards including a Woodland Indian Arts Initiative Grant, an Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and a Drama of the Year Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas for her play The Museum at Red Earth. Her book Copper Yearning won the Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award from the Council of Wisconsin Writers and was named one of the best Native Books in 2019 by The Tribal College Journal. Her short story “Vision Confidence Score” received the Zona Gale Short Fiction Award and honorable mention in the Rick Demarinis Short Story Contest. Blaeser lives in the woods and wetlands of Lyons Township, Wisconsin and spends part of each year at a water-access cabin adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota chasing poems, photos, and river otters—sometimes all at once.