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Native American poets offer readings, workshop

By Megan Quinlan
Assistant Around Campus Editor

Gordon Henry Jr., Kimberly Blaeser and Simon Ortiz, three internationally renowned Native American poets, authors and educators are speaking at UNCP.

Henry and Blaeser will be visiting the campus on Feb. 11 and 12.

Ortiz will be reading some of his work in Moore Hall at 5 p.m. and is hosting a poetry-writing workshop on April 23 and 24. The workshops and readings are free and open to anyone in the campus and local communities

Henry is a member of the White Earth Chippewa Tribe of Minnesota, as well as a poet, novelist and an Associate Professor at the Department of English/American Studies at Michigan State University.

He teaches American literature, American Indian literature and is the director of the Creative Writing Program.

Some of his poetry has been published in works such as: Songs From This Earth On Turtle’s Back: Contemporary American Indian Poetry, and Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First Native American Writers.

He also wrote a novel in 1994 called The Light People, which won him The American Book Award in 1995.

Blaeser is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She teaches Native American literature, creative writing and American nature writing.

She has lectured in over 100 locations, published three books, received awards for writing and speaking and is now serving on two American Indian literature series boards for university presses.

Trailing You was a collection of Blaeser’s poetry that won the 1993 Diane Decorah First Book Award.

Her works appeared in many Canadian and American journals, as well as anthologies and publications including: New Voices in Native American Literary Criticism, As We Are Now, Mixblood Essays on Race and Identity, Other Sisterhoods, Literary Theory and U.S. Women of Color and many more.

Ortiz was born in Albuquerque, N.M., and was raised in the Acoma village of McCarty’s in an Acoma-speaking family.

He taught at several colleges including: San Diego State, The Institute of American Indian Arts, Navajo Community College, The College of Marin, the University of New Mexico and the Sinte Gleska College.

After his teachings, Ortiz served as lieutenant governor of the Pueblo of Acoma.

He was also the consulting editor of the Pueblo of Acoma Press. Now, he is a faculty member at the University of Toronto.

He won the award for Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year (Anthology/Collection) Award, 2000 (for Speaking for Generations).

Some of his poems include: Grants to Gallup, New Mexico, For Nanao, and The First Hard Core.

The American Indian Studies Department is sponsoring these events.

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