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Kristina Marie Darling
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In anticipation of Tupelo Press’s forthcoming anthology project, Native Voices, I’m pleased to continue a series of posts honoring Indigenous poetry from North America. But first, I’d like to say a few words about this exciting and necessary anthology. Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language. In this book, the first of its kind, every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. With that in mind, I'm thrilled to introduce one of our poets, Deborah Miranda. An enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of California, poet Deborah Miranda was born in Los Angeles to an Esselen/Chumash father and a mother of French ancestry. She grew up in Washington State, earning a BS in teaching moderate special-needs children from Wheelock College in 1983 and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Washington. Miranda’s collections of poetry include Raised by Humans (2015); Indian Cartography: Poems (1999), winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial First Book Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas; and The Zen of La Llorona (2005), nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Miranda also received the 2000 Writer of the Year Award for Poetry from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Her mixed-genre collection Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (2013) won a Gold Medal from the Independent Publisher's Association and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan Award. It is a delight to feature her poem, "Acorn." Enjoy! Acorn That sound inside you is a sacred sound: heartbeat of a seed, eager to emerge. That sound inside you is an urgent sound: life’s sharp, percussive pulse. That sound inside you is the future, rattling a polished brown shell shaped like a goddess, or a breast. You are what Jesus meant when he said the meek shall inherit the Earth. You are what Hillel had in mind when he said, this is the whole Torah. You are the secret that begs to be told, a treasure whispering find me. You are the fingerprint of the Creator left behind in soft red clay, hardening in sun. You are the sleek amulet snug in the palm of my hand; you are the ripe mother of nations. From your flesh comes invention of all words for holiness, sacred, celebration, awe. Palatsa, little rattle, you hold time in your belly – round and full and kicking its way into life. For more information about the anthology, our mission, and how you can help, please visit our Kickstarter page. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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In anticipation of Tupelo Press’s forthcoming anthology project, Native Voices, I’m pleased to continue a series of posts honoring Indigenous poetry from North America. But first, I’d like to say a few words about this exciting and necessary anthology. Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language. In this book, the first of its kind, every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. With that in mind, it is an honor and a delight to introduce one of our poets, Sammie Bordeaux-Seeger. Sammie Bordeaux-Seeger is a Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud, South Dakota. She writes and teaches at Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Reservation. Here is a poem forthcoming in the anthology, entitled "1900." Enjoy! 1900 Great grandma as a little girl holds the quilt in which she is buried. They had only had fabric for dresses and quilts a few years at that point, only ten years past the ‘Knee. Little girls knew then any wildness could be punished with bullets, the way we knew fear of spanking or The Big Owl, who would come and take us in our sleep to the top of the water tower, shove us off. Grandma warned us every night before bed, The Big Owl is going to come and take your bottles. And five year old me would come home from Headstart, make a double batch of chocolate milk for my little brother in the cheap plastic bottles. Screw on the tops, put ourselves down for a nap. In 1900 there was only the breast, the milk, the dead mother the child slipped next to for suckle. That sigh. For more information about the anthology, our mission, and how you can help, please visit our Kickstarter page. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Dean Rader publishes widely in the fields of poetry, American Indian studies, and visual/popular culture. His debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize. His recent collection, Landscape Portrait Figure Form, (Omnidawn Chapbook Series 2014) was named by the Barnes & Noble Review as one of the Best Books of Poetry of the year. In 2016, he won the Common Good Books Prize (judged by Garrison Keillor) and in 2015 was the recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s George Bogin Memorial Award (judged by Stephen Burt). He has also written scholarly books, including Engaged Resistance: Contemporary American Indian Art, Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI (University of Texas Press, 2011), which won the Beatrice Medicine Award for Excellence in American Indian Scholarship and Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry(University of Arizona Press, 2001, edited with Janice Gould). He is a professor at the University of San Francisco. For more information, visit his website. An Indigenous daughter of the West, CMarie Fuhrman was born in Southwest Colorado and has lived in various rural towns of states all along the Rocky Mountains. She has earned degrees in Exercise Physiology, English and American Indian Studies and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Idaho where she co-teaches Native Literature and Ethnic Studies classes and is associate poetry editor for Fugue. Cindy’s poetry has been featured in Broadsided Press’s NoDapl compilation, two anthologies, and several literary journals including Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, and Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art. She is recipient of the Burns Award for poetry and multiple fellowships. Her current project, The Problem of My Body, focuses on the forced sterilization of Native women. CMarie divides her time between Moscow and McCall, Idaho. In anticipation of Tupelo Press's forthcoming Native Voices anthology, I'm pleased to introduce a conversation with our co-editors about what the book makes possible in the classroom. KMD: You are all both accomplished educators, with positions at such colleges as the University of San Francisco, University of Idaho, and many others. I’d love to hear more about your experiences teaching poetry. What’s missing from contemporary writing programs and the conversations that take place within them? DR: I think there are two answers to your question. One answer involves what gets taught to undergraduates in terms of Indigenous poetry. This includes classes to both English majors and--in some ways more importantly--to non-English majors. For example, at USF we have a very popular class called “Native American Literature and Film” which fulfills the university’s literature core requirement. It is designed for non-English majors and will be, for most students in the class, the only literature class they take in college. Increasingly, there are courses like this all over the country. And they are popular. Professors who teach these classes are often overworked and perhaps even under-prepared--especially for poetry. This anthology will help them teach contemporary Indigenous poetry in an inclusive way... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
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In anticipation of Tupelo Press’s forthcoming anthology project, Native Voices, I’m pleased to continue a series of posts honoring Indigenous poetry from North America. But first, I’d like to say a few words about this exciting and necessary anthology. Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language. In this book, the first of its kind, every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. It's an honor and a delight to introduce one of our contributors, Ernestine Hayes. Alaska Writer Laureate and University of Alaska Southeast Associate Professor Ernestine Hayes belongs to the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Tlingit nation. Her first book, Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir, received an American Book Award and an Honoring Alaska Indigenous Literature (HAIL) Award, was named Native America Calling Book of the Month, and was finalist for the Kiriyama Prize and PEN Nonfiction Award. Blonde Indian was the inaugural selection for Alaska Reads, a program launched by her predecessor, Writer Laureate Frank Soos. Her works have appeared in Studies in American Indian Literature, Yellow Medicine Review, Cambridge History of Western American Literature, and other forums. Her poem “The Spoken Forest” is installed at Totem Bight State Park, and her comments on Indigenous identity are installed in the Alaska State Museum. Her latest book, The Tao of Raven, weaves narratives and reflection in the context of “Raven and the Box of Daylight.” We're thrilled to feature her hybrid text, "Shapeshifters." Enjoy! Shapeshifters My grandmother told me that if I saw myself on the street, I should approach and embrace the familiar shape. Her exact instructions were “Saankalyek’t, walk up and hug yourself.” The beings we might see, she explained, can present themselves in the form of those who see them. I spent childhood summers at Hawk Inlet on the island whose name is Xootsnoowoo. I explored the forest and the beach while my grandmother and other Tlingit women worked in the cannery increasing the wealth of white man colonizers. On late evenings, shadows crept along the boardwalk between two rows of dark red cabins. Worn-down women unwrapped bandanas that had protected their hair from the raw smell of wealth sucked from the ocean, the smell of profit now headed into the pockets of white men through tins of salmon that should rather have been smoked and dried and baked and boiled on Tlingit fires. Grandmothers and aunties unpinned their now-uncovered waist-length graying hair and sat around kerosene lamps, gossiping and laughing and reminding little girls to stay inside. Beings could be heard just outside the walls. As soon as someone sensed their nameless movement, the beings began to whisper like willow branches, whimper like dogs that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
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In anticipation of Tupelo Press’s forthcoming anthology project, Native Voices, I’m pleased to continue a series of posts honoring Indigenous poetry from North America. But first, I’d like to say a few words about this exciting and necessary anthology. Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language. In this book, the first of its kind, every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. I recently had a chance to interview one of our contributors, Ishmael Angaluuk Hope, about his poem, "Canoe Launching into the Gaslit Sea," featured in a previous Best American Poetry post, and forthcoming in the anthology. Ishmael Angaluuk Hope is a Tlingit and Inupiaq storyteller, poet and scholar who lives in Juneau, Alaska. Notable projects includes serving as the lead writer for Kisima Ingitchuna: Never Alone for E-Line Media and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council; and publishing two poetry books under the Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, Courtesans of Flounder Hill and Rock Piles Along the Eddy. He is raising a family of five children with his wife, Lily Hope, a Tlingit weaver. A Conversation With Ishmael Angaluuk Hope KMD:  Tell us about your first encounter with poetry. IAH: Both of my parents, the late Elizabeth “Sister” Goodwin Hope, Taliiraq, an Iñupiaq who grew up in Kotzebue, Alaska, and Andrew Hope III, Xhaastánch, a Tlingit born and raised in Sitka, Alaska, were poets. Boy, do I sure miss them. My mother’s book of poems, A Lagoon Is In My Backyard, was, as far as her and her publisher–Ishmael Reed Publishing Company–knew, the first published book of poems by an Inuit, in 1984. Now there are incredible Iñupiaq poets like Joan Kane and dg okpik, among many, to which I have joined ranks with my two books, Courtesans of Flounder Hill and Rock Piles Along the Eddy, by the same publisher of my mother’s book. Ishmael Reed and his wife Carla Blank have been family friends for many decades, and tremendous supporters of my parents’ and my work, along with countless others. So I grew up around it. It was weird growing up in a community where anti-Nativeness was very strong, yet my parents were these respected poets and cultural leaders. I think more than anything the resonance of humanity my parents brought to me, the warmth and love, and joy of creation, led me to poetry. KMD:  Your poem, “Canoe Launching into the Gaslit Sea” reads as a gorgeously rendered imperative, a call to action. In what ways is the practice of poetry political for you as a writer? IAH: Thanks much for your kind comment. I think we need a very expansive idea of what poetry... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
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In anticipation of Tupelo Press’s forthcoming anthology project, Native Voices, I’m pleased to continue a series of posts honoring Indigenous poetry from North America. But first, I’d like to say a few words about this exciting and necessary anthology. Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language. In this book, the first of its kind, every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. With that in mind, I'm thrilled to introduce another one of our talented contributors, Michael Wasson. Michael is the author of This American Ghost (YesYes Books, 2017). His poems appear in American Poets, Beloit Poetry Journal, Drunken Boat, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Narrative, Poetry Northwest, Best New Poets, and Bettering American Poetry. He is nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho. I'm pleased to present his poem, "Mourning Ceremony." Enjoy! Mourning Ceremony hipe’síweme kaa wáaqo’ ‘ilcwéew’cixnim cilakátki ‘iceyéeyenm wéetesne péetek’ene. They carved and now Coyote distributed Monster’s body to various lands. When grief is allowed to us it’s in the stern shape and voice of a man who walks around ‘n yells at us and his hollering holds our faces while we are handed polaroid photographs and old portraits and lip-stained cups with either coffee or red Kool-Aid rings inside and dirty paintings and ashy ashtrays and almost clean enough pots and iron skillets and washed pans and jean jackets still glazed with the scent of sweat ‘n armpits and pine-rubbed flannel coats and pants so dirty when you glide your hand across ‘em dust slips off and fades into the blaring gymnasium lights and cracked and bent glasses frames with a little resin of ear oil and a smear of dried blood still in the screws and plain moccasins and porcupine quill roaches ranging from child-size to adult-size worn out shoes and torn boots and a wristwatch an elderly woman puts to her ear and keeps it there like a phone and a phone though we don’t have enough money to buy an answering machine to record your lost breathing soft into some spooled static and a collection of tapes and your Black Sabbath and Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and the Eagles and Led Zeppelin and Credence Clearwater Revival and the blankets you took with you when you ended up homeless for a little while and slept along the Clearwater River and baskets with nothing inside them and door knobs and rugs and your dirty shirt that had Mickey Mouse adorned in a headdress and more blankets and letters and notes and he’s yelling at us that this is the only time we get to mourn for you for this loss and for this collection of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
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In anticipation of Tupelo Press’s forthcoming anthology project, Native Voices, I’m pleased to continue a series of posts honoring Indigenous poetry from North America. But first, I’d like to say a few words about this exciting and necessary anthology. Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language. In this book, the first of its kind, every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. With that in mind, it is an honor and a delight to introduce one of our poets, Karenne Wood. Karenne Wood is an enrolled member of the Monacan Indian Nation who directs Virginia Indian Programs at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She holds a MFA in poetry and a PhD in linguistic anthropology. She has worked at the National Museum of the American Indian as a researcher and at the Association on American Indian Affairs as a repatriation specialist. In 2015 she was honored as one of Virginia’s Women in History. Karenne is the author of two poetry collections, Markings on Earth (2000) and Weaving the Boundary, (2016). Her poems have appeared in such journals as The Kenyon Review, Orion, and Shenandoah. Here is one of her contributions to the anthology project, "Deer Woman." Enjoy! Deer Woman He hunted me into the clouds as I sought the blue star-petaled flower, its scent like magnolia and peach. I left my family in the meadow to pick my steps Across patched snow, where fields grasped edges of sky. There is within some of us a longing to be stripped clean. Alongside, the forest held his shape. His scent rose to me with the wind. Too late I knew him, too late to find cover, and I ran as I was made to—haunches taut, nostrils steaming, like a swallow I darted into glistening whiteness. When I tired, he was there. His circle tightened. Dark, and dark-eyed, hypnotic—I could feel his hunger as my own. I had taunted his dreams more than once, dreamt that mouth, the merciless craving in him. There is within some of us a longing to be stripped clean, To give it all—strings of sinew, tufted hair, marrow, white ropes of fat, to bare the body’s pulse. I froze, heavy with the need to dissolve into him, his mouth the deep red song of an appeasable desire. On the wind, I hear another song, my family calling out to me, calling me into my name. But I cannot return from this altitude, bound to his hunger, which is a kind of love. I will kneel in a cloud’s wisp of grace, to discover how completely our own wanting wounds us. Published in Weaving the Boundary, University of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
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In anticipation of Tupelo Press’s forthcoming anthology project, Native Voices, I’m pleased to announce a series of posts honoring Indigenous poetry from North America. But first, I’d like to say a few words about this exciting and necessary anthology. Tupelo Press is eager to celebrate a more complete version of the story we tell—about ourselves, our past, and what is possible in language. In this book, the first of its kind, every poet will present new poems, as well as an original essay, and a selection of resonant work chosen from previous generations of Native artists. Our anthology is intended to embody the dynamic and ongoing conversations that take place in Indigenous poetry through writerly craft across generational, geographic, and stylistic divides. With that in mind, it is an honor and a delight to introduce one of our poets, Ishmael Hope, with a piece entitled “Canoe Launching into the Gaslit Sea”…. “Canoe Launching into the Gaslit Sea” Now, as much as ever, and as always, we need to band together, form a lost tribe, scatter as one, burst through rifle barrels guided by the spider’s crosshairs. We need to knit wool sweaters for our brother sleeping under the freeway, hand him our wallets and bathe his feet in holy water. We need to find our lost sister, last seen hitchhiking Highway 16 or panhandling on the streets of Anchorage, couchsurfing with relatives in Victoria, or kicking out her boyfriend after a week of partying in a trailer park in Salem, Oregon. Now, as much as ever, and as always, we need to register together, lock arms at the front lines, brand ourselves with mutant DNA strands, atomic whirls and serial numbers adding ourselves to the blacklist. We need to speak in code, languages the enemy can’t break, slingshot garlic cloves and tortilla crumbs, wear armor of lily pads and sandstone carved into the stately faces of bears and the faraway look of whitetail deer. We need to run uphill with rickshaws, play frisbee with trash lids, hold up portraits of soldiers who never made it home, organize a peace-in on the walls of the Grand Canyon. We need to stage earnest satirical plays, hold debate contests with farm animals at midnight, fall asleep on hammocks hanging from busy traffic lights. Now, as much as ever, and as always, we need to prank call our senators, take selfies with the authorities at fundraisers we weren’t invited to, kneel in prayer at burial grounds crumbling under dynamite. We need to rub salve on the belly of our hearts, meditate on fault lines as the earth quakes, dance in robes with fringe that spits medicine, make love on the eve of the disaster. For more information about our mission, and how you can help, please check back for information about our fundraiser, which will be available in the coming days. Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
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Nov 7, 2017