Over the past year I’ve come across a couple of Kimberly Blaeser’s poems on the net. A short bit from the author blurb in the book:
Kimberly Blaeser, an Anishinaabe writer, photographer, and scholar, served as Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2015-16. She is also the author of … poetry collections and a scholarly monograph… Blaeser is a professor of English and Indigenous Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and serves on faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA Program in Santa Fe. And so much more! Go here to learn more.
I connected so well with her poetry that I bought a couple of her collections. Copper Yearning is the one I chose to read first. The 141-page book has a substantial number (over 80) of poems, arranged in six sections:
I. Geographies of Longing
II. Hunger for Balance
III. Frayed Histories
IV. Alchemy Inherited
V. Black Ash and Resistance
VI. Refractions of Spirit
There is also an opening “Proem” and an “Envoi.”
What stands out in these poems is an intimate love bond between the poet and nature. Kimberly has clearly spent most of her life communing in nature with her presence and senses attuned to its language.
Also omnipresent is an honoring of the ancestors and as proxy voice of advocacy for those humans in the First Peoples Tribes from the past, present, and future that need to be heard.
Although I enjoyed all of the poems throughout the collection, my favorites came from parts IV, V, and VI:
“Regarding the Care of Homeless Children” – comments on an old “scientific” study
“This House of Words” – truth will never be silenced
“Mooningwanekaaning-minis” – attempts to extinguish us will never succeed
“Because We Come From Everything” – we will never be extinguished
“Eloquence of Earth” – observances on the killing ways of “modern” society
“Prairie Thunder” – the mass extermination of bison and a call to rebuild
“A Song for Giving Back” – the virtues of our lifeblood, water
“These Small Turns of Memory” (9:22) – are there tests for what we need to know?
“After Words” – on death