With the Wisconsin Book Festival in full swing this week, we continue our series of author interviews. Ali talks to current Madison Poet Laureate Oscar Mireles and 2015–16 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Kimberly Blaeser, both of whom contributed to the anthology Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice. They discuss their work as educators, activists, and writers, and the important interplay between literature and social justice.
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. She is the editor of Stories Migrating Home: A Collection of Anishinaabe Prose and Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry. Blaeser is Anishinaabe, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and grew up on the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota.
Oscar Mireles is the City of Madison’s current Poet Laureate. He has been writing poetry for the past thirty-five years, and his work is featured in over fifty publications. He is the editor of three anthologies: I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: 20 Hispanic Poets, I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: 30 Hispanic Writers, and I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos in Wisconsin: 3 Decades of Hispanic Writing. Oscar Mireles also serves as executive director of the Omega School in Madison.
Kimberly Blaeser and Oscar Mireles will be joined by Denise Sweet, Wendy Vardaman, and Ron Riekki for a book event about the anthology Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (Michigan State University Press, 2019) at the Wisconsin Book Festival this Sunday, October 20, 12:00 PM at The Bubbler in the Central Library (201 W. Mifflin St., Madison). The event is free and open to the public. More information is available here.