October 27, 2023

Kimberly Blaeser, Indigenous poet and activist, named Mackey Chair

Anishinaabe poet and former Wisconsin poet laureate Kimberly Blaeser will share her luminous voice as Beloit College’s next Mackey Chair.

Kimberly Blaeser, Mackey Chair Kimberly Blaeser, Mackey Chair
Credit: John Fisher
Professor Emeriti of English and Indigenous studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Blaeser is also on the MFA Creative Writing faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and founding director of the literary organization In-Na-Po — Indigenous Nations Poets. In 2021, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

Blaeser is an Indigenous activist and environmentalist who grew up on the White Earth Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. A writer, photographer, and scholar, she is also the author of five poetry collections. Her spring 2024 arrival on campus will coincide with the publication of her newest book, Ancient Light, from the University of Arizona Press.

“I’m delighted to join the creative writing faculty and students on the Beloit campus. Because I love poetry with tentacles into the world,” Blaeser says, “I will encourage students to expand the sources of inspiration for their writing practice, to experiment with docu-poetry, work like ekphrasis, collaborative writing, writing with and from places, and intermodal work.”

The Mackey Chair brings talented writers to campus to enlighten the campus through presentations and public readings. Established in the late 1980s by Willard Mackey’47 in honor of his wife, Lois’45, the program has brought distinguished authors to campus to teach an advanced creative writing course for over 30 years. Past Mackey Chairs include Raymond Carver, Denise Levertov, Billy Collins, Amy Hempel, Ursula K. Le Guin, Li-Young Lee, Rebecca Makkai, Kevin Young, and Lynda Barry.

“Beloit students are fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from Professor Blaeser, an inspiring teacher, a luminous voice, and one of the most gifted Indigenous writers of our time,” says Professor Chris Fink, director of the Mackey program.


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