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A reading from Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (Michigan State University Press, 2019), featuring Kimberly Blaeser, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2015-2016); Emilio DeGrazia, Winona Poet Laureate (2012-2016); and Ron Riekki, co-editor of Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice
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. A Professor of English and Indigenous Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Blaeser also serves on faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program in Santa Fe. Her work has been widely anthologized, and selections of her poetry translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Norwegian, Indonesian, and Hungarian. Her photographs, picto-poems, and ekphrastic poetry have been featured in various venues including the exhibits “Ancient Light” and “Visualizing Sovereignty.” An enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Blaeser grew up on White Earth Reservation. She 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.
Emilio DeGrazia, a long-time resident of Winona, Minnesota, founded Great River Review in 1977. A collection of fiction, Enemy Country (New Rivers Press), was selected by Anne Tyler for a Writer’s Choice Award, and a novel, Billy Brazil (New Rivers Press), was chosen for a Minnesota Voices award. A second collection, Seventeen Grams of Soul, received a Minnesota Book Award in 1995, and a second novel, A Canticle for Bread and Stones, appeared in 1996. In the past few years DeGrazia published Burying the Tree, his first collection of essays, a memoir called Walking on Air in a Field of Greens, Seasonings, a first collection of poetry, and Eye Shadow, creative non-fiction. Most recent is a book featuring Carol Stoa Senn’s creative work Shamu, Splash and Solemn. He and his wife Monica also have co-edited three anthologies of Minnesota writing, and he has served two terms as Winona’s Poet Laureate.
Ron Riekki has published U.P.: A Novel (Ghost Road Press), Leave Me Alone, I’m Bleeding, I Want to Date a Girl Who’s a Rage Against the Machine Fan: Poems about Love, Death and Heavy Metal, and She Took God: A Memoir in 34 Poems (Gypsy Daughter Poetry Chapbooks and Literary Publishing), Dandelion Cottage, A Play (produced by Lake Superior Theatre) and Your Map is Wrong: A Collection of Plays Set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (the Center for U.P. Studies), Carol (Smith & Kraus, The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2012, produced by Stageworks/ Hudson), and How to Kill Yourself with a Gun and a Bottle of Pills (upcoming, Original Works Publishing, produced by Ann Arbor Civic Theater). Ruckus Theater also produced All Saints’ Day: 44 Poems about Jeffrey Jones