Balancing: Poems of the Female Immigrant Experience in the Upper Midwest, 1830-1930
Balancing: Poems of the Female Immigrant Experience in the Upper Midwest, 1830-1930

Balancing: Poems of the Female Immigrant Experience in the Upper Midwest, 1830-1930

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The poems in Balancing were inspired by the experiences of women who, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, sought new homes in the Upper Midwest. The first waves of pioneers, predominantly Yankees from Northeastern states, were soon followed by European immigrants. Few women recorded their struggles and satisfactions, but by juxtaposing research and imagination, Kathleen Ernst breathes new life into their forgotten stories.


Reading Kathleen Ernst's collection of poems, we are immediately and exquisitely immersed in the hopes and joys, the travails and disappointments of the 19th century immigrant woman. With a painterly eye, Kathleen writes with empathy, compassion and profound understanding for their lives; these women who were forced to balance from stump to stump, from Old World to New/from dreaming bride to resolute wife/one foot rooted solid, the other suspended in air.

These poems are consistently grounded in sensual and bracing details of their daily lives: the relief alongside the grief, the surprising joys, whether sealing sunshine beneath the zinc lids of fruit jars, packing the wagons and trunks, or pegging out wet laundry on prairie lines. The lucky reader who takes the time to be with these poems can't help but be riveted and spiritually enlarged by Kathleen's work.

Andrea Potos, author of Marrow of Summer and Mothershell

About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is an award-winning author, educator, and social historian whose interest in the immigrant experience began while working at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum in Eagle. She is the author of forty books, including the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries, A Settler's Year: Pioneer Life Through the Seasons, and historical fiction for young readers. Honors for Kathleen's work include the American Heritage Women in the Arts Recognition Award for Literature from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Major Achievement Award from the Council For Wisconsin Writers, the Sterling North Legacy Award for Children's Literature, and an Emmy Award for Children's Instructional Programming. Visit for more information.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Little Creek Press (July 1, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 68 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1942586981
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1942586982
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.35 ounces

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