Margaret Rozga Biographical Statement
University of Wisconsin - Waukesha Professor of English Emerita Dr. Margaret Rozga creates poetry from her ongoing concern for social justice issues. She was a participant in Milwaukee’s marches for fair housing and later married civil rights leader, Father James Groppi.
Her book, Two Hundred Nights and One Day (Benu Press 2009), tells the story of the 1967-68 Milwaukee fair housing struggle. This book was awarded a bronze medal in poetry in the 2009 Independent Publishers Book Awards and named an outstanding achievement in poetry for 2009 by the Wisconsin Library Association.
Dr. Rozga is also the author of Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad (Benu Press 2012), and Justice Freedom Herbs (Word Tech Press). Her most recent book, Pestiferous Questions: A Life in Poems, looks at issues of women’s roles, western expansion, and race as they are woven through the life of Jessie Benton Frémont, usually identified in terms of her father, a powerful Missouri Senator and her husband, John Charles Frémont, best known as an explorer and 1856 Republican candidate for President. These Jessie centered poems were written with the help of a creative writer’s fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. Dr. Rozga has also been a resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and at the Ragdale Foundation.
As part of the 50th anniversary projects honoring Milwaukee’s fair housing marches, Dr. Rozga served as editor of a poetry chapbook anthology, Where I Want to Live: Poems for Fair and Affordable Housing. Also as part of the 50th anniversary events, she convened a housing task force that supported the successful initiative to close a loophole in Milwaukee County’s fair housing law so that it now covers people with rent assistance vouchers.
She writes monthly columns for the Los Angeles Art News and Milwaukee Neighborhood News. She leads poetry and journaling workshops and serves as a civil rights consultant to community organizations.