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Voices From the Gaps
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Kimberly Blaeser

Biography / Criticism

Kimberly Blaeser, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, grew up on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. She is of Anishinabe and German heritage. She articulates her dual heritage and its significance in the forms of poetry, personal essays, short fiction, journalism, reviews, scholarly articles, and speeches. Her work may be found in a myriad of publications. As a poet, Blaeser celebrates life's common moments. Maintaining that "[n]o voice arises from one person," she speaks with the voices of multiple individuals, as both a single person and a member of something much larger.

In Trailing You: Poems (1994), her poetry unites the stranger with the relative, the far-away with the near, the dream with the direction. The collection of voices that speaks in her poetry gathers the reader into the family of human experience. For example, in "The Cocoon," Blaeser's liberating flow of words and images enhance her metaphors that mediate spirit and body. In this poem, butterflies are nature's representatives and perform the spiritual service of bridging gaps, whether of memory, spirituality, or dialogue.

In the title poem, "Trailing You," past memories, experiences, and places are reference points for the speaker. Memories of a spiritual teacher, along with the poetry that marks the path of those memories, unite the teacher with the speaker and the past with the present. This is one of Kim Blaeser's talents; she creates a union of voices that draws readers in. Her book Trailing You: Poems earned her the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas' 1993 Diane Decorah First Book Award in Poetry.

Other awards Blaeser has received include a research award from the University of Wisconsin Institute on Race and Ethnology (1992), a travel grant from the Zahn Research Travel Fund at the University of Notre Dame, and three fellowships: Francis C. Allen; the Newberry Library, D'Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian (1985); and the Center for Twentieth Century Studies, College of Letters and Science of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1993-94).

Kim Blaeser earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. For her dissertation, Blaeser produced a reportedly outstanding study on the work of Gerald Vizenor, published as Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition (1998). In addition to her literary accomplishments, Blaeser explores wildlife and nature through photography. This, along with her love of traveling, keeps her creativity flowing -- for her writing, her students, and herself. As an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Dr. Blaeser teaches courses in Native American Literature, American Nature Writing, and Creative Writing.

Selected Bibliography

Works by the Author

Works about the Author

Related Links

NativeWiki: Kimberly Blaeser
This biography includes an exhaustive list of essays, scholarly writings, and collections that contain Blaeser's work (online and in print), along with book purchasing options.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Special Library Exhibit
This site includes a brief biography on Blaeser, excerpts from a story, several essays, and a poem.

Blaeser's Faculty web page
Page on the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee website. Includes her contact information.

Report a dead link or suggest a new one by emailing voices@umn.edu.

Contributors

This page was researched and submitted by Robin R. Rehm on 2/24/99 and edited and updated by Lauren Curtright on 8/25/04.