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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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Freesia McKee

  • Literature
I am a Literary Professional

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artist bio

Freesia McKee is a poet, essayist, and a Writer's Wednesdays Co-coordinator at Milwaukee Artist Resource Network.

A Milwaukee native and long-time poet, Freesia McKee's work has appeared in digital and print venues in the US and abroad including the Huffington Post, gritty silk, Verse Wisconsin, Outrider Review, S/tick, ssissterss, Burdock 13, Painted Bride Quarterly, Gertrude Magazine, Stone Highway Review, The Boiler Journal, Ishaan Literary Review, newleaf (Bremen, Germany), Creatrix: Women Writers on Truth (for Adrienne Rich), Magnolia: A Journal of Women's Literature, Corvus, Drey Magazine (Edinburgh, Scotland), Screech!, Vapid Kitten 6 (Manchester, England), the Peal, and Say What?!: Gender and Language. Freesia's essays and scholarly works have appeared in the Testimony Exhibit for the Coalition for Queer Youth, Traction 1, The Undergraduate Journal of Service-Learning and Community-Based Research, the Swannanoa Journal NPR-affiliate, What Extraction Yields: In Response to NCSB 514, Full Circle: on Bodies and Healing, Verse Wisconsin, and Sheville.com.

She has presented at several conferences, including a Southeastern Writing Centers Association conference, where she received a Conference Scholarship for her presentation, "Tutoring Creative Writers, Enabling Creative Writers to Tutor Each Other."

Freesia was involved with the MARN-based reading at City Hall, "You are Hear" featuring Wisconsin Poet Laurate Max Garland and local writer Dasha Kelly. She attended a writing residency program at Grin City Collective in the fall of 2013 and is a regular contributor to the feminist literary website PDXX Collective.

Freesia's poem "at the inaugural meeting of the divine savior holy angels gay-straight alliance" was nominated for the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology. In 2012, Freesia also had the opportunity to open for Kelly Tsai at the Spoken Truth Poetry Festival at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and serve on the opening panel of a Furious Flower Poetry Summit at James Madison University. Freesia has placed in a number of poetry slams and short fiction reading contests in Scotland and the US, but most of her work now is focused on the page.

Freesia graduated from Warren Wilson College with a major in gender and women's studies and a creative writing minor. At Warren Wilson, she received the Pfaff Cup, the highest student honors the college awards. Freesia also tied for the Dean's Award for the Most Outstanding Senior Letter, which meant that the entire first-year class read her senior letter the following Fall.

Freesia currently works with several non-profit organizations in Milwaukee including an arts organization, a fish farm, and a community-based design start-up. Freesia also volunteers for cream city review.

An experienced editor, copy editor, and writing tutor, Freesia is available for one-on-one writing coaching sessions and help with the revision process.

artist statement

I am a poet instead of a sociologist because sociology only explains how things tend to go, but creative writing has the privilege to explain the truth of what actually happened. For me, the most important poetry is written within a feminist framework, both originated from and vocalized into a context of intersectional social awareness. Creative writing is a witnessing of our experience—what it tasted like, how it felt. Unlike prose, poetry conveys memory in the way that we carry it—fragmented, collaged, in and out of focus.

Writing poetry is important to me because I feel compelled to name stories before they die, to record history in the way that it has been relayed: scraps of sentences, certain sides of experiences. This is why, for me, attention to form is imperative and poetic innovation adds to our understanding of lives, identities, and social contexts. I have found that poetry is an appropriate vessel for activism and a microphone for dissent.

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