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Awards, New Books, New Friends

July 2, 2017

Congratulations Tyehimba Jess for winning the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Olio.  I first met Tyehimba in 2005 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  That year Illinois hired author Rigoberto Gonzales, (Butterfly Boy, among a dozen more books), Tyehimba Jess (Leadbelly, Oilo) and me (Shell Shaker, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story).  This last year I taught Olio in my graduate symposium in English at UGA Athens. What a fascinating read.  Rush out and buy it.  Read it.  Chew on the pages.

Just returned from the NonFictionNow Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Below is a powerful waterfall, not from from the capital city.  The countryside in Iceland is gorgeous, in some places other worldly, lots of volcanos simmering, waiting to erupt.  And the conference had all the rockstars of CNF, myself excluded.

2017-06-04 22.06.19.jpg

I’m rushing off tomorrow to London, UK for the American Indian Workshop (AIW) hosted this year by friends and colleagues David Stirrup and Padraig Kirwan.  Stay tuned for lots of pictures and news from the conference.  Lots of American Indian and First Nation friends will be there.  Very excited to see everyone.

I recently co-authored a chapbook of poems with Irish poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa titled, Singing, Still, Libretto for the 1847 Choctaw Gift to the Irish for Famine Relief.  The chapbook is a series of  “call and response” poems dedicated to our ancestors, the Irish and the Choctaws who lived and died through the hunger years, suffering at the hands of colonialism. The chapbook poetry is trilingual, allowing English to form a bridge between our native languages.  Here’s a link to our story that ran in the Irish Times.

Until next time.




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