November 2, 2019

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books-Keynote: Active Voices and Poetry's Work in the World-with Margaret Rozga


The Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books is a free community celebration of literacy and arts where local and national authors and readers come together to learn, question and reflect on many topics. As Wisconsin Poet Laureates, both Margaret Rozga and Kimberly Blaeser tap poetry’s power to open doors to new ideas and fuel new vision. Their poems, which engage with history, indigenous culture, social justice, identity, and the environment, often invite audience discovery and participation. Sometimes the poems become calls to action. Join this performance which features work for single, double, and multiple voices. Bring your spirit of adventure, your voice, and your questions. Join us in making woke poetry, in exploring new contexts and forms.Margaret Rozga, current Wisconsin Poet Laureate, brings an active and activist’s voice to that role. Her poems draw on her interest in history, the environment, women’s roles, and social justice issues. She writes about this poetic bent in her Pushcart Prize nominated essay, Community Inclusive: A Poetics to Move Us Forward.A participant in Milwaukee’s 1967-68 fair housing marches, she turned that action into words in her book 200 Nights and One Day. This book earned a bronze medal in poetry in the 2009 Independent Publishers Book Awards and was named an outstanding achievement in poetry for 2009 by the Wisconsin Library Association. The Wisconsin Library Association also named another of her books, Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad, to this honor in 2012. Her most recent book, Pestiferous Questions: A Life in Poems, was written with support from the American Antiquarian Society. She has been a resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, the Ragdale Foundation, and Sundress Academy for the Arts.Kimberly Blaeser is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she teaches Creative Writing and Native American Literatures. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Apprenticed to Justice, Absentee Indians and Other Poems, and Trailing You. A poet, critic, essayist, fiction writer, and Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2015–2016, Blaeser was raised on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota by parents of Anishinaabe and German descent. She is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa tribe. Blaeser worked as a journalist before earning her PhD at the University of Notre Dame. In 1991, as a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Blaeser co-founded the multicultural writers’ organization Word Warriors. She lives with her family in rural Wisconsin.


UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha
1500 N University Dr
Waukesha WI, 53188-2720

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