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Native Innovation: Indigenous American Poetry in the 21st Century

Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24, 2013

Native Innovation: Indigenous American Poetry in the 21st Century is a landmark symposium bringing together a new generation of Native American poets in a convocation of readings and conversations for an in-depth look at the dynamic state of current Native American poetry and poetics in the 21st century. Featuring leading Native American poets and co-curated by Joseph Bruchac and Allison Hedge Coke, this event examines a range of issues, including native languages, traditional storytelling, formal innovation and Native American politics and much more.

Presented by Poets House in partnership with the National Museum of the American Indian and with support from the Lannan Foundation. Co-sponsored by Copper Canyon Press and the University of Arizona Press.


Crazy Brave: An Evening with Joy Harjo
A reading by Joy Harjo, followed by a conversation with Joseph Bruchac
March 21, 2013 - 6:00PM
Location: National Museum of the American Indian
Admission: Free

Native Innovation Symposium: Day One
Friday, March 22, 2013 - 6:00PM
Location: Poets House (Kray Hall)
Full-Day Admission: $10; $7 for students and seniors; Poets House Members Free

• 6:00PM: Reception and Welcome with Joseph Bruchac & Allison Hedge Coke
• 7:00PM: Reading by Natalie Diaz & Orlando White
• 8:00PM: Reading by Santee Frazier, Cedar Sigo & Roberta Hill

Native Innovation Symposium: Day Two
Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 11:00AM to 10:00PM
Location: Poets House (Kray Hall)
Full-Day Admission: $10; $7 for students and seniors; Poets House Members Free

• 11:00AM: Welcome with Joseph Bruchac & Allison Hedge Coke
• 11:10AM: Craft Presentations and Discussion with Jennifer Foerster, Maurice Kenny, Cedar Sigo & James Thomas Stevens
• 2:00PM: Panel on Native Narratology with Santee Frazier, Allison Hedge Coke & Roberta Hill
• 3:30PM: A Conversation with Roberta Hill, Maurice Kenny & James Thomas Stevens
• 5:00PM: A Conversation with Sherwin Bitsui, Santee Frazier & Jennifer Foerster
• 8:00PM: Poetry Reading with Jennifer Foerster & James Thomas Stevens
• 9:15PM: Poetry Reading by Sherwin Bitsui & Allison Hedge Coke, with music by Kelvyn Bell

Native Innovation Symposium: Day Three
Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 12:45PM to 6:30PM
Location: Poets House (Kray Hall)
Full-Day Admission: $10; $7 for students and seniors; Poets House Members Free

• 12:45PM: Welcome with Joseph Bruchac & Allison Hedge Coke
• 1:00PM: A Conversation with Cedar Sigo, Orlando White & Karenne Wood
• 2:30PM: A Conversation with Joseph Bruchac, Joy Harjo & Natalie Diaz
• 4:00PM: A Language Conversation with Natalie Diaz, Orlando White, Sherwin Bitsui & Karenne Wood
• 4:45PM: Poetry Reading with Karenne Wood & Maurice Kenny
• 5:45PM: Reading by Joseph Bruchac & Joy Harjo

Participant Bios

Sherwin Bitsui
Sherwin Bitsui is a Navajo poet whose two books of poetry are Floodsong and Shapeshift. A recipient of a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award, he currently lives in Albuquerque.

Joseph Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac is a poet, novelist, and storyteller whose work often engages his Abenaki ancestry and Native culture. The author of over 20 books of poetry, the recipient of numerous awards, including an American Book Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, he lives in Upstate New York.

Natalie Diaz
Natalie Diaz is a poet whose first book is When My Brother Was an Aztec. She is the winner of a 2012 Narrative Prize for her poetry, a 2012 Lannan Fellow, and the recipient of the Nimrod/ Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. A Mojave and Pima tribe member, she directs a language revitalization project with the Elder Mojave speakers in Arizona.

Jennifer Foerster
Jennifer Foerster is a poet and a member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma. She is the recipient of fellowships from Soul Mountain Retreat, Naropa, and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her first book of poetry is Leaving Tulsa. She lives in San Francisco.

Santee Frazier
Santee Frazier is a Cherokee poet and the author of the poetry collection Dark Thirty. His awards include a School for Advanced Research Indigenous Writer-in-Residence appointment, a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship, and a Syracuse University Fellowship. He currently teaches writing at Syracuse University.

Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo is a Mvskoke Nation poet and musician. Her books include She Had Some Horses, How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems, and Crazy Brave: A Memoir. She is faculty in the American Indian Studies program at the University of Illinois. Her many awards for her poetry include a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award.

Allison Hedge Coke
Allison Hedge Coke is the author of five collections of poetry, including the verse play Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, and Dog Road Woman which won an American Book Award. She is also the author of Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer, a memoir, and editor of Effigies: An Anthology of New Indigenous Writing, Pacific Rim and Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. She lives in Oklahoma.

Roberta Hill
Roberta Hill is an Oneida poet, fiction writer and scholar. Her collections of poetry include Star Quilt, Philadelphia Flowers, and the forthcoming Cicadas: New and Selected Poems. She is a Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Maurice Kenny
Maurice Kenny is a Mohawk poet and educator. His books include Carving Hawk: New & Selected Poems, 1953-2000 and In the Time of the Present: New Poems. His awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers Elder Recognition Award, and an American Book Award.

Cedar Sigo
Cedar Sigo is a poet living in San Francisco. He is originally from The Suquamish Reservation in Washington and studied at The Naropa Institute. His books of poetry include Stranger in Town and Selected Writings.

James Thomas Stevens
James Thomas Stevens is a Mohawk poet whose books include A Bridge Dead in the Water and The Mutual Life. His awards include a Whiting Writers Award, a Witter Bynner Foundation poetry grant, the Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Prize in Poetry, and the City of Santa Fe Writer’s Award.

Orlando White
Orlando White is a Navajo poet whose first book is Bone Light. He currently teaches in the English and Foundations department at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona. He is the recipient of both a Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship and a Lannan Foundation Residency.

Karenne Wood
Karenne Wood is a Monacan poet and anthropologist. Her book Markings on Earth is a recipient of the First Book Award by University of Arizona, and the Diane Decorah Award for Poetry from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas. She is Director at The Virginia Indian Program at The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.