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St. Paul – Indigenous Nations Poets: Poetry Reading

June 28 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm CDT


The Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC), in partnership with Indigenous Nations Poets (IN-NA-PO) is honored to present an evening of poetry readings with this year’s IN-NA-PO fellows and visiting writers. Capping off their week-long retreat at MHC, a group of IN-NA-PO fellows and visiting writers will share some of their original work and engage each other and the audience in conversation. Fellows taking part include Anangookwe Wolf, Anthony Ceballos, Bonney Hartley, Halee Kirkwood, Kalehua Kim, Kinsale Drake, Sunni Parisien, and Tacey Atsitty. Hosting this event will be former Wisconsin Poet Laureate Kimberly Blaeser, City of Minneapolis Poet Laureate Heid E. Erdrich, and Minnesota Poet Laureate Gwen Nell Westerman.

In the spirit of nourishing our bodies and our minds, prior to the event, we invite you to join us for a complimentary community meal. Books will be available for purchase at the event through Birchbark Books, and book signing will take place after event activities have ended.

This event is presented in partnership with Indigenous Nations Poets (IN-NA-PO), a national Indigenous poetry community committed to mentoring emerging writers, nurturing the growth of Indigenous poetic practices, and raising the visibility of all Native writers past, present, and future. In-Na-Po recognizes the role of poetry in sustaining tribal sovereign nations and Native languages.

About the event hosts:

Kimberly Blaeser, past Wisconsin Poet Laureate and founding director of Indigenous Nations Poets, is a poet, photographer, and scholar. She is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Ancient Light (2024), Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance (2020), and Copper Yearning (2019). Her photographs, picto-poems, and ekphrastic pieces have appeared in exhibits such as “Visualizing Sovereignty,” and “No More Stolen Sisters.” An Anishinaabe activist and environmentalist, she is an enrolled member of White Earth Nation and grew up on the reservation. The 2024 Mackey Chair in Creative Writing at Beloit College, Blaeser is a Professor Emerita at UW–Milwaukee and an MFA faculty member for Institute of American Indian Arts. Her accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award from Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. Blaeser splits her time between her home in rural Wisconsin and a water-access cabin adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota.

Heid E. Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain. Heid teaches, edits, and curates visual arts exhibitions with a focus on Native American art. Many of her seven poetry collections contain works created for collaborations with visual artists. Her poetry collection Little Big Bully, 2020, won a National Poetry Series award and the Bobbitt prize from The Library of Congress. Heid edited the 2018 anthology New Poets of Native Nations which won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. She is the 2024 Minneapolis Poet Laureate.

Gwen Nell Westerman is a poet, visual artist, and scholar. Her roots are deep in the landscape of the tallgrass prairie and reveal themselves in her art and writing. She is an enrolled citizen of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, and her father’s family is from the Heipa District. Her mother’s family is from the Flint District of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Neither of her parents spoke English when they were sent as small children to boarding schools in Oklahoma and South Dakota. Singing and writing for as long as she can remember, Gwen understands from experience the important ways language and the land shape who we are. She was appointed as the Poet Laureate of Minnesota in 2021.


There is no cost to attend this event, however registration is required. A complimentary light evening meal will be served at 5:30 p.m. prior to the event start at 6:00 p.m.

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June 28
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm CDT
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Corey China


Minnesota Humanities Event Center
987 Ivy Avenue East
Saint Paul, MN 55106 United States
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