New Series Supports Indigenous Poets

Posted Tue, 11/07/2017 - 7:00am by  |  Category: ,

Photo by Cybele Knowles

Hugo House and Poetry Foundation kick off Poetry Across the Nations, a new community outreach program facilitated by Native women, on December 6–8.

Conceived by poet Natalie Diaz in collaboration with Jennifer Foerester and Ydalmi Noriega of the Poetry Foundation, the series aims to make intercultural and intertribal interactions more possible and engage Native poets—both local to the community as well as from across the country—in community workshops and public readings.

Indigenous languages and stories are part of the foundation of the American lexicon. This series builds a space for the indigenous voice to be centralized and recognized as a valid contributor to American arts and letters, rather than marginalized,” writes Natalie Diaz. “We are grateful to Hugo House for the opportunity to celebrate Seattle’s rich community of indigenous poets and writers.”

Diaz, who is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe, is the author of When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press), a Lannan Literary Fellow, and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program. She splits her time between the east coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language. Other participating poets include Cedar Sigo, Celeste Adame, Casandra Lopez, Laura Da’, and Sara Ortiz.

The program kicks off in Seattle with additional events planned for the spring of 2018 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and Phoenix, Arizona. Each event is shaped according to the community’s unique dynamics and needs, as well as by the vision of the participating poets.

In most cases, the reading will take place within the community, particularly when that community has otherwise little access to poetry. In other cases, such as in Seattle, the reading will welcome both the surrounding and local urban tribal communities as well as non-Natives in order to provide exposure to a diversity of local and national Native poets.

Program Events

Our Lives, A List: A Poetry Workshop for the Suquamish Community with Cedar Sigo and Jennifer Foerster
Wednesday, December 6, 5:00–7:30 pm | free
The Suquamish Museum (6861 NE South Street, Suquamish, Washington)

Poetry Across the Nations: An Indigenous Reading
Thursday, December 7, 7:00 pm | free
FRED Wildlife Refuge (128 Belmont Avenue East, Seattle, Washington)

Sublime Locations: The Emotionality and Sensuality of “Place”
A Poetry Workshop for Indigenous Writers with Celeste Adame and Natalie Diaz

Friday, December 8, 5:00–8:00 pm | free
Hugo House (1021 Columbia Street, Seattle, Washington)