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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Poet Kimberly Blaeser to visit NIU

Poet Kimberly Blaeser poses in front of a body of water. Blaeser will come to NIU to read her poetry on March 28. (Courtesy of Kimberly Blaeser)

Take some time out of your day to listen to the underrepresented stories inspired by Indigenous people with poet Kimberly Blaeser.

At 3:30 p.m. March 28, Blaeser will be reading in the Sky Room at the Holmes Student Center.

Her reading will be followed by a Q&A session and meet and greet for students. Refreshments will also be provided for attendees.

Blaeser is the author of six poetry collections, including “Copper Yearning,” “Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance” and her most recent published work, “Ancient Light.”

Aside from poetry, Blaeser works in many other mediums. She’s also a scholar, playwright and photographer.

From picto-poems and ekphrastic pieces to photographs, her work has been featured in exhibits such as “No More Stolen Sisters” and “Visualizing Sovereignty.”

She is the founding director of the literary organization In-Na-Po-Indigenous Nations Poets and a former Wisconsin Poet Laureate.

Currently, Blaeser is the Mackey Chair in Creative Writing at Beloit College, a professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

A member of the White Earth Nation and Anishinaabe activist, Blaeser’s poetry is often inspired by where she grew up and the nature and animals, like the heron, which the Anishinaabe have a spiritual connection to.

Works of art inspired by Indigenous experiences or made by Indigenous artists are not easy to find, so it’s important for NIU students to listen to Blaeser’s work.

“She has a message about poetry that’s really important to hear now, I think,” said Molly McNett, an NIU instructor of creative and fictional writing. “Her perspective is that it should not only be beautiful but it should also do something in the world.”

Besides her poetry and other work, Blaeser encourages students to pursue creative writing and not to be afraid to share their writing.

“When people are doing a performance or a reading or whatever, my advice for them is at that moment, whatever length of that piece is, put aside all about what’s wrong with it and love,” Blaeser said in an interview with Wisconsin Writes. “Just for that little bit of time, love it and sell it to your audience.”

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