Kimberly Blaeser to kick off NEA Big Read events

Kimberly Blaeser, a professor of creative writing and Native American literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will lead the Waukesha/Milwaukee kickoff event for the National Endowment of the Arts Big Read initiative, “Wisconsin Reads ‘The Round House,’” on Thursday, March 1, at 7 p.m. at the Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust St.

Blaeser’s poetry reading and introduction to “The Round House” is the first of several community conversations taking place in March and April in Milwaukee and Waukesha. Milwaukee events will feature several UWM faculty and students and will include readings, book discussions and workshops at the Indian Community School.

Kimberly Blaeser

Blaeser is a writer, photographer, scholar, author of three poetry collections and the editor of “Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry.” In addition, she served as Wisconsin’s poet laureate for 2015-16.  Of Anishinaabe ancestry and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe who grew up on the White Earth Reservation, Blaeser 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.

The Big Read is a collaboration of University of Wisconsin Colleges and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community Colleges’ students, faculty and staff to bring communities around the state together to discuss Anishinaabe author Louise Erdrich’s novel “The Round House.” The novel centers on a Native American family and community as they try to come to terms with the brutal attack and sexual assault of one of their members. The book also investigates the convoluted laws and jurisdictions that have historically made it difficult for legal authorities to prosecute crimes that occur on Indian reservations.

More than 70 Big Read events are taking place across the state in the cities and surrounding areas of Milwaukee.  Among other events, UWM creative writing graduate students will lead a poetry-writing workshop for students at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee. For additional information on the Big Read program and upcoming events, please visit the website at or contact project director Lee Friederich at

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