Copper Yearning invests itself in a compassionate dual vision—bearing witness to the lush beauty of our intricately woven environments and to the historical and contemporary perils that threaten them. Kimberly Blaeser’s fourth collection of poetry deftly reflects her Indigenous perspective and a global awareness. Through vividly rendered images, the poems dwell among watery geographies, alive to each natural nuance, alive also to the uncanny. Set in fishing boats, in dreams, in prisons, in memory, or in far flung countries like Bahrain, the pieces sing of mythic truths and of the poignant everyday injustices. But, whether resisting threats to effigy mounds or inhabiting the otherness of river otter, ultimately they voice a universal longing for a place of balance, a way of being in the world—for the ineffable.
"Copper Yearning by Kimberly Blaeser is a poetry collection that reminds us of the wonders of the natural environment and what it means to be a human living amongst them. Equally fluent in poetic stylings and cathartic crescendos, the White Earth Anishinaabe writer immerses her readers in a world where English and Anishinaabemowin comingle, inviting us to think about the depth in bodies of water, the ache felt for those who’ve passed on, the necessity of protecting treaty rights against the invaders at Standing Rock, and the sweet kinship one finds in eating gas station junk food while on a long road trip. Blaeser is a multifaceted artist, and within the covers of this collection is all the evidence one needs to affirm why the former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin is one of the most interesting and lyrically gifted Native poets publishing today."--Ryan Winn, Tribal College Journal, December, 2019
"Copper Yearning is a moving collection from one of the most important indigenous writers and scholars of our time. In this new work, Kimberly Blaeser creates a palimpsest of 'broken geographies,' 'frayed histories,' 'sacred cycles,' 'clan relatives,' and 'everyday survivals.' The poems, like birch bark canoes, carry us across the past and the present, across the White Earth Reservation and Bahrain, across Standing Rock and refugee routes, across English and Anishinaabemowin, across sorrow and the 'blood passage of belonging.' Reading this book will inspire you to “open the medicine pouch / of your voice” and stand firm to protect the treasured earth and its ancient waters."—Craig Santos Perez
"Writing with a profound attentiveness to the natural world and concerns for the rights and legacies of native peoples, Kimberly Blaeser's Copper Yearning is a journey that seeks to satisfy "The taste of mythology on my tongue / this cartographic hunger." The poems in this collection—environmental, documentary, philosophical—occupy the intersection of personal history and present moment in deeply insightful ways. Blaeser's work has contributed to my understanding of what American poetry is and might be, and I hope the same will be true for all who read this important new book."--Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets and author of Pinko.
"Kimberly Blaeser’s books have always been necessary reading, but Copper Yearning takes things to an entirely different level. The poems in this spectacular collection demonstrate a heightened sense of political awareness and poetic experimentation. As a reader and as a citizen I was both challenged and rewarded. Moving from local acts of resistance like Standing Rock to global concerns like Indigenous land rights, Blaeser’s poems feel like they are both timely and timeless. Best of all, her poems reflect a commitment to craft commensurate with the poems' thematic ambitions. This is a collection to read and reread for a lifetime."--Dean Rader, author of Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry
"Copper Yearning is a marvelous kaleidoscope—a poetics that flows, as do liquid and silvers, from the elemental to the oracular 'Dreams of Water Bodies.' I love the musicality of Blaeser’s lines, the sense of some invisible motion that pulses from line to line, poem to poem, a motion that is beyond time but manifests here in dynamic rhythm and form. These are poems of vivid alchemy that praise all forms of life: cartographic, geologic, animate, poetic. Blaeser travels through these forms with fervor and dexterity; each poem is a journey through immensity with its detail of this 'small magic we call earth' in all of its peculiar beauty."--Jennifer Foerster, author of Bright Raft in the Afterweather
"These exquisite poems immerse us in various worlds and generations to remind us that stories and memory shape our lives; not just that of humans, but also rocks, trees, fish, birds, frozen lakes, dense woodlands, oceans, the skies and all lifeforms. They give voice to the spirits of place, animals, and ancestors that accompany us still.
"This work is beautifully wrought from the Anishinaabeg language, Western poetics, and family voices over the generations thus showing how the power of memory and stories have held us together over the centuries."--Luci Tapahonso, Inaugural Diné Nation Poet Laureate