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About the Author
Kimberly Blaeser, poet, critic, essayist, and fiction writer, is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee and a member of the low residency MFA faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She served as Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2015-2016. Blaeser is Anishinaabe, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and grew up on White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. Her collections of poetry include Apprenticed to Justice (2007), Absentee Indians and Other Poems (2002), and Trailing You (1994), which won the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas First Book Award. She is also the author of a critical study on fellow White Earth writer Gerald Vizenor, entitled Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition (1996), and editor of the anthologies Traces in Blood, Bone & Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry (2006), and Stories Migrating Home: A Collection of Anishinaabe Prose (1999). Blaeser's poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction have been widely published, and selections of her poetry have been translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Norwegian, Indonesian, and Hungarian. Her writing is included in more than forty anthologies and collections such as Native Voices: Honoring Indigenous Poetry from North America (2019), Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing (2009), The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (2011), Thinking Continental: Writing the Planet One Place at a Time (2017), Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems (2017) and Reinventing the Enemy's Language (1997). Blaeser has performed her poetry at over 350 different venues around the globe, and has been the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Center for 21st Century Studies, the D'Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian, and the Institute on Race and Ethnicity among others. She is an editorial board member for the "American Indian Lives" series of the University of Nebraska Press, for the "Native American Series" of Michigan State University Press, and for the Indigenous Studies Journal Transmotion. Blaeser, who worked as a journalist before earning her Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame is also an avid wildlife and nature photographer often exhibiting her photos, ekphrastic poetry, and a mixed-genre art form for which she invented the term "Picto-Poem." She lives in the woods and wetlands of rural 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.
"Copper Yearning by Kimberly Blaeser is a poetry collection that reminds us of the wonders of the natural environment and what it means to be a human living amongst them. Equally fluent in poetic stylings and cathartic crescendos, the White Earth Anishinaabe writer immerses her readers in a world where English and Anishinaabemowin comingle, inviting us to think about the depth in bodies of water, the ache felt for those who've passed on, the necessity of protecting treaty rights against the invaders at Standing Rock, and the sweet kinship one finds in eating gas station junk food while on a long road trip. Blaeser is a multifaceted artist, and within the covers of this collection is all the evidence one needs to affirm why the former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin is one of the most interesting and lyrically gifted Native poets publishing today."--Ryan Winn, Tribal College Journal, December, 2019
"Copper Yearning is a moving collection from one of the most important indigenous writers and scholars of our time. In this new work, Kimberly Blaeser creates a palimpsest of 'broken geographies, ' 'frayed histories, ' 'sacred cycles, ' 'clan relatives, ' and 'everyday survivals.' The poems, like birch bark canoes, carry us across the past and the present, across the White Earth Reservation and Bahrain, across Standing Rock and refugee routes, across English and Anishinaabemowin, across sorrow and the 'blood passage of belonging.' Reading this book will inspire you to "open the medicine pouch / of your voice" and stand firm to protect the treasured earth and its ancient waters."--Craig Santos Perez
"Writing with a profound attentiveness to the natural world and concerns for the rights and legacies of native peoples, Kimberly Blaeser's Copper Yearning is a journey that seeks to satisfy "The taste of mythology on my tongue / this cartographic hunger." The poems in this collection--environmental, documentary, philosophical--occupy the intersection of personal history and present moment in deeply insightful ways. Blaeser's work has contributed to my understanding of what American poetry is and might be, and I hope the same will be true for all who read this important new book."--Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets and author of Pinko.
"Kimberly Blaeser's books have always been necessary reading, but Copper Yearning takes things to an entirely different level. The poems in this spectacular collection demonstrate a heightened sense of political awareness and poetic experimentation. As a reader and as a citizen I was both challenged and rewarded. Moving from local acts of resistance like Standing Rock to global concerns like Indigenous land rights, Blaeser's poems feel like they are both timely and timeless. Best of all, her poems reflect a commitment to craft commensurate with the poems' thematic ambitions. This is a collection to read and reread for a lifetime."--Dean Rader, author of Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry
"Copper Yearning is a marvelous kaleidoscope--a poetics that flows, as do liquid and silvers, from the elemental to the oracular 'Dreams of Water Bodies.' I love the musicality of Blaeser's lines, the sense of some invisible motion that pulses from line to line, poem to poem, a motion that is beyond time but manifests here in dynamic rhythm and form. These are poems of vivid alchemy that praise all forms of life: cartographic, geologic, animate, poetic. Blaeser travels through these forms with fervor and dexterity; each poem is a journey through immensity with its detail of this 'small magic we call earth' in all of its peculiar beauty."--Jennifer Foerster, author of Bright Raft in the Afterweather
"These exquisite poems immerse us in various worlds and generations to remind us that stories and memory shape our lives; not just that of humans, but also rocks, trees, fish, birds, frozen lakes, dense woodlands, oceans, the skies and all lifeforms. They give voice to the spirits of place, animals, and ancestors that accompany us still. "This work is beautifully wrought from the Anishinaabeg language, Western poetics, and family voices over the generations thus showing how the power of memory and stories have held us together over the centuries."--Luci Tapahonso, Inaugural Diné Nation Poet Laureate