Kimberly Blaeser

Kimberly Blaeser was born in Billings, Montana, in 1955. Of Anishinaabe ancestry, she grew up on the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota and is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. She received a BA from the College of Saint Benedict in 1977 and went on to study at the University of Notre Dame, where she received an MA in 1982 and a PhD in 1990.

Blaeser is the author of six collections of poetry, particularly Ancient Light: Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2024); Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance (ED Lisieres, 2020); Copper Yearning (Holy Cow! Press, 2019), winner of the Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award from the Council of Wisconsin Writers and one of Tribal College Journal’s best Native Books in 2019; and Trailing You (Greenfield Review Press, 1994), winner of the Diane Decorah First Book Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. She also edited Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry, and her monograph Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition was the first native-authored book-length study of an Indigenous author.

Allison Hedge Coke writes,

Kim Blaeser is a knock-out poet, bringing boxers to steal hearts, floured fists to punch dough, and a serious sense of familial White Earth beauty, hunger, and humility that’s impossible to put down.

Blaeser has received awards and fellowships from Wisconsin Arts Board, Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, Wisconsin Humanities Council, Indian Community School Foundation, and Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters among others.

The former Wisconsin poet laureate, Blaeser is an MFA faculty member for Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and a professor of English and Indigenous studies at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. In 2020, Blaeser founded the literary organization In-Na-Po—Indigenous Nations Poets. 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 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. In November 2021, she was the Guest Editor for Poem-a-Day.

Blaeser lives in rural Wisconsin; and, for portions of each year, in a water-access cabin near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota.