Meet Minnesota’s new poet laureate Gwen Westerman

woman standing on gravel road holding quilt
Gwen Westerman is Minnesota's poet laureate as well as an essayist, historian, teacher and quilter.
Melanie Zacek for QuiltFolk

Minnesota’s new poet laureate Gwen Westerman works with language and fabric.

She’s an award-winning quilter as well as a poet, essayist and historian. As the first Native poet to be selected for the position, Westerman plans to use her role to shine a light on underrepresented poets in the state.

Host Angela Davis speaks with Westerman about how her creative work honors the land and reflects her Dakota and Cherokee heritage.


  • Gwen Westerman is the Minnesota state poet laureate and a professor of English and humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate through her father and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation through her mother. 

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