“Poetry is a way of seeing, of seeing and re-seeing,” Dr. Kimberly Blaeser, keynote speaker for
the seventh annual Streamlines Conference, told her audience. In a room full of writers, this
statement did not fall on deaf ears; it is a truth they all know and acknowledge no matter the
Streamlines, an undergraduate conference, celebrates language, literature, and writing and
features student work from Midwest colleges and universities. The conference is a collaborative
effort between Loras College, Clark University, and the University of Dubuque, this year headed
and organized by Dr. Will Kanyusik of Loras College. On Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, Loras
hosted 13 colleges and universities and 36 presenters as well as other faculty, staff, and
“We don’t see what we see. What we see is influenced by the moment.” Again, Dr. Blaeser’s
statement crossed genres. The 12 panels featured works of fiction, creative nonfiction,
poetry, literature analysis, and one on the Spanish language. In each of these sessions, students
presented what they saw through written works, reading their essays to a small audience.
Audience members were then invited to ask questions of the presenters, prompting further
consideration of what was seen by the author at the time of writing and what is seen in the
present. At the conference, writing moved beyond the page, becoming a medium of dialogue to
examine the broader world.
Streamlines featured keynote speaker Dr. Kimberly Blaeser, a poet and English professor at the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Blaeser grounded her presentation, “Picto-Poems:
Image, Language, and Gesture in Our (Rashly) Interconnected Universe,” with her own poetry,
explaining how she mixed poetry and graphic arts to demonstrate that all mediums of thought
and creativity are connected. However, Dr. Blaeser’s connectedness moves beyond the fine arts.
As a member of the Anishinaabe nation, she deeply connects her creativity with her heritage and
the natural world.
Though conference participants may not have been searching to connect their work to nature,
they engaged in the act of seeing beyond the self, learning that their work, through sharing it
with others, made them active members of the rashly interconnected universe Dr. Blaeser