#indigenous

POSTPONED Indigenous Pacific Islander Eco-Literatures: Leora Kava, Craig Santos Perez, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and guests

  • NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED, TO BE RE-SCHEDULED FOR SPRING 2023

Co-presented by The Poetry Center and Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies, SF State

Join the editors and guest contributors for a celebratory reading and conversation, presenting work from and talking about the issues raised by this first-ever anthology of contemporary eco-literature gathering the work of one hundred Indigenous writers from Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and the global Pacific diaspora. Indigenous Pacific Islander Eco-Literatures is newly in print from the University of Hawaii Press.

The urgent voices in this book call us to attention—to action!—at a time of great need. Pacific ecologies and the lives of Pacific Islanders are currently under existential threat due to the legacy of environmental imperialism and the ongoing impacts of climate change. While Pacific writers celebrate the beauty and cultural symbolism of the ocean, islands, trees, and flowers, they also bravely address the frightening realities of rising sea levels, animal extinction, nuclear radiation, military contamination, and pandemics.

Indigenous Pacific Islander Eco-Literatures reminds us that we are not alone; we are always in relation and always ecological. Humans, other species, and nature are interrelated; land and water are central concepts of identity and genealogy; and Earth is the sacred source of all life, and thus should be treated with love and care. With this book as a trusted companion, we are inspired and empowered to reconnect with the world as we navigate towards a precarious yet hopeful future.

  • Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner (editor) is Climate Envoy for the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the director of Jo-Jikum, an environmental nonprofit.
     
  • Leora (Lee) Kava (editor) is assistant professor of Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania studies at San Francisco State University.
  • Craig Santos Perez (editor and series editor) is professor in the English department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Mazza Writer in Residence Ari Banias and Demian Dinéyazhi’, at Beyond Binary

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.
     
  • Masks are requested for those attending in person.

Co-presented by The Poetry Center and Fine Arts Gallery, SF State. 

In conjunction with the exhibition Beyond Binary, The Poetry Center's Mazza Writer in Residence for Fall 2022, poet Ari Banias, is joined by poet and artist (and contributor to the exhibition) Demian Dinéyazhi’. They'll each read from their poems and engage in conversation with the audience. The exhibition runs from September 17 through October 27, with this event being one of several public programs taking place in the space of the gallery amid the twenty contributing artists' works. More here.

Ari Banias is the author of A Symmetry (2021), winner of the 2021 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans & Gender Variant Literature, and Anybody (2016), both from W. W. Norton. Recent poems have appeared in bæst, Georgia Review, Hyperallergic, The Nation, The New Republic, Triple Canopy, Verse, Washington Square, and The Yale Review. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and residencies including at Yaddo, Headlands Center for the Arts, MacDowell, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Currently, Ari lives in Chicago. aribanias.com

Demian DinéYazhi ́ is a Portland-based Diné transdisciplinary artist, poet, and curator born to the clans Naasht’ézhí Tábąąhá (Zuni Clan Water’s Edge) & Tódích’íí’nii (Bitter Water). Their practice is a regurgitation of purported Decolonial praxis informed by the over accumulation and exploitative supremacist nature of hetero-cis-gendered communities post colonization. DinéYazhi´'s praxis interrogates normative spaces by refusing to settle or perform for exploitative galleries and publishers that act as gatekeepers to the lethargic, toxic legacy of Western paradigms. They are a survivor of attempted european genocide, forced assimilation, manipulation, sexual and gender violence, capitalist sabotage, and hypermarginalization in a colonized country that refuses to center their politics and philosophies around the Indigenous Peoples whose Land they occupy and refuse to give back. They live and work in a post-post-apocalyptic world unafraid to fail. @heterogeneoushomosexual

Related event: Ari Banias and Brandon Som, at Medicine for Nightmares

Simon J. Ortiz and Jennifer Elise Foerster, at Medicine for Nightmares

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.
     
  • Masks are required for those attending in person.

Co-presented by The Poetry Center and Medicine for Nightmares.

Simon J. Ortiz, poet, short fiction writer, essayist, storyteller, and a documentary filmwriter some years back. He, significantly, is an Indigenous voice since he is a tribal member of the Acoma Pueblo Nation in New Mexico. He used to teach at San Diego State University, Lewis & Clark College, University of New Mexico, University of Arizona summer school, Arizona State University where he was a Regents Professor of English and Indigenous Studies. He has also taught at University of Toronto, Colorado College, Navajo Community College, Sinte Gleska University. Now retired, he continues on as a poet, short fiction writer, authors essays from time to time, and does  readings of his poetry, short fiction, and oral Indigenous narratives. Presently, he is working on a memoir, a short fiction collection, a book of his essays, and an American Indigenous epic. His well-known books include Woven Stone, from Sand Creek, Beyond the Reach of Time and Change, Fightin': New & Collected Stories, The People Shall ContinueThe Good Rainbow Road, and many more. His newest book, Light as Light, will come from the U. of Arizona Press in 2023.

Jennifer Elise Foerster is the author of three books of poetry, The Maybe Bird (The Song Cave, 2022), Bright Raft in the Afterweather (University of Arizona Press, 2018), and Leaving Tulsa (University of Arizona Press, 2013), and served as the Associate Editor of When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (Norton, 2020). Jennifer received her PhD in English and Literary Arts from the University of Denver, her MFA from the Vermont College of the Fine Arts, and is an alumna of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). She currently teaches for The Rainier Writing Workshop, the Institute of American Indian Arts Continuing Education Program, Orion Magazine, and other writing programs, while serving as the literary assistant to the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo. Foerster grew up living internationally, is of European (German/Dutch) and Mvskoke descent, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma. She lives in San Francisco. jenniferfoerster.com

Simon J. Ortiz, a solo reading and conversation

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.
     
  • Masks are asked to be worn, at the poet's request, for those attending in person.

Co-presented by The Poetry Center and American Indian Studies, SF State, with an introduction provided by musician, scholar, and AIS Chair, John-Carlos Perea.

Simon J. Ortiz, poet, short fiction writer, essayist, storyteller, and a documentary filmwriter some years back. He, significantly, is an Indigenous voice since he is a tribal member of the Acoma Pueblo Nation in New Mexico. He used to teach at San Diego State University, Lewis & Clark College, University of New Mexico, University of Arizona summer school, Arizona State University where he was a Regents Professor of English and Indigenous Studies. He has also taught at University of Toronto, Colorado College, Navajo Community College, Sinte Gleska University. Now retired, he continues on as a poet, short fiction writer, authors essays from time to time, and does  readings of his poetry, short fiction, and oral Indigenous narratives. Presently, he is working on a memoir, a short fiction collection, a book of his essays, and an American Indigenous epic. His well-known books include Woven Stone, from Sand Creek, Beyond the Reach of Time and Change, Fightin': New & Collected Stories, The People Shall Continue, The Good Rainbow Road, and many more. His newest book, Light as Light, will come from the U. of Arizona Press in 2023.

New Voice Series, featuring Raul Ruiz, with Zêdan Xelef, Alexiz Angel Romero, and Bianca White

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.

The Poetry Center presents the New Voice Series, in its second annual iteration. The series features a poet alum of SF State, in combination with a current SF State Creative Writing graduate student poet, and (this year) two undergraduate student poets at SF State, to each read their work and engage in conversation. Participants in the series are selected by Poetry Center student staff. For this year's event, Raul Ruiz will appear as featured poet, along with Zêdan Xelef, Alexiz Angel Romero, and Bianca White. Please join us!

  • Please note: proof of vaccination and mask are required in order to attend in person.
  • And then one day we decided we weren’t children anymore, we decided we weren’t going to drag our lives across this country of fences to live out the heartbreaking demands of walls. We weren’t going to become men, weren’t going to wake up in the burning mouth of last night’s whiskeys for the rest of our yellow days like our fathers and the broken guns before them. We weren’t going to wait until our dust forgave us in death to touch with eager hands our wings. We weren’t going to forget the piano part of our bodies, the part of us every flower touched when we slept, the corner of our hearts more secret than poems (do you think you’ve ever held a poem in your hand? Prove it. Prove it with the eager shadow of your shadow)
    —Raul Ruiz

Raul Ruiz is a Spanish interpreter who lives and works in San Francisco. An MFA graduate of SF State (2015), Ruiz has a chapbook titled Mustard forthcoming in 2022 from Drop Leaf Press.

Zêdan Xelef is a poet, translator, and cultural preservationist from Mesopotamia. His poems and translations have appeared in Poetry, Los Angeles Review of Books, Words Without Borders, World Literature Today, Tripwire Journal, Asymptote, Epiphany, and Plume, among others. His translation of Selim Temo's Selected Poems from Kurmanji, in collaboration with Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse, comes out from Pinsapo Press in Fall 2022. He attends the MFA program at San Francisco State University. 

Alexiz Angel Romero is a queer, gender-nonconforming, Latinx poet from Oxnard, CA, studying for their BS in Chemistry and minor in Queer Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University

Bianca White is currently a Creative Writing and Liberal Studies major at SFSU. She lives in the East Bay with her mom and sisters. Her poem "Now that I'm Blooming: Things I Hope to Learn" can be found in Transfer Magazine Issue 122. You’ll find her drinking boba milk tea and writing more poetry!

David Swallow Jr., Lakota Sun Dance Chief, a talk and conversation

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.

Join us online for a late Friday morning (11:00 AM Pacific Time) talk by and conversation with David Swallow Jr., Lakota medicine man and AIM activist, who will be joining us from his home in the Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. He'll be joined by Hafez Modirzadeh, as moderator.

Co-presented by American Indian Studies at SF State.

David Swallow Jr. is a Teton Lakota wicasa wakan ("holy man" or, as some would say, "medicine man") who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Teton Lakota Nation is the band of Crazy Horse. Swallow was taught the ancient Lakota ways by his Grandparents and is recognized by his own people, both on and off the reservation, as a Spiritual Leader and Sundance intercessor. He travels to teach about the sacredness of Mother Earth and to bring about awareness of the situation of his people on the reservation, and is fluent in his language, history, and with the treaties made and broken with the U.S. government. In the Lakota way of living, ceremony and ritual is performed as a condition of living in a place.

Swallow's recordings from White Bear Records, Wocekiye Olowan: Lakota Spiritual Prayer Songs and Inipi Olowan: Lakota Sweat Lodge Songs (with Nila Helper) are recommended, available for purchase from Matoska Trading Company, Inc.

Hafez Modirzadeh is a musician, composer, and teacher of music and musical cultures, a frequent collaborator with the Poetry Center, and Professor of Music at SF State. Among his recent recordings is Facets, "saxophonist/composer Modirzadeh’s latest radical entreaty against the cultural hegemony of the Western notion of equal temperament and his argument that musicians should be free to explore a variety of tonal possibilities, even on piano"—featuring Kris Davis, Tyshawn Sorey, and Craig Taborn on retuned pianos, available from Pi Recordings.

Poetry and Environmental Justice, featuring Ed Roberson, Tiffany Higgins, Eli Clare, Lehua M. Taitano

With emcee, Steve Dickison

Presented in conjunction with the Poetry Coalition

Cosponsored by The Poetry Center and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, SF State

We welcome people with disabilities and want to do what we can to make this event accessible to you. *** ASL interpretation and Live Captioning will be provided. *** Media captioning will be available after the event at our YouTube channel and at Poetry Center Digital Archive.

Supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Academy of American Poets in support of Poetry Coalition programs

  • ...There are names each thing has for itself,
    and beneath us the other order already moves.
    It is burning.
    It is dreaming.
    It is waking up.
    —Linda Hogan, from "Map"

The Poetry Center, in conjunction with the Poetry Coalition, presents one in a series of programs across the country during March and April around this shared topic. Four poets, whose work is recognized for its address to ideas of justice, to our global climate crisis, and to the effects of colonialism and racial capitalism, read from their work and join in conversation with one another and, time permitting, in response to questions from the audience. Ed Roberson, Tiffany Higgins, Eli Clare, and Lehua M. Taitano will be joined by emcee, Steve Dickison.

Ed Roberson is the author of many books of poetry, including the newly, released Asked What Has Changed (Wesleyan University Press, 2021) and the forthcoming MPH and Other Road Poems (Verge Books, 2021). A former special programs administrator at Rutgers University’s Cook Campus, Roberson has lived in Chicago since 2004 and is an emeritus professor in Northwestern University’s MFA creative writing program. He has also held posts at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Cave Canem retreat for black writers. His honors include the Jackson Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, and the African American Literature and Culture Association’s Stephen Henderson Critics Award. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Roberson has worked as a limnologist’s assistant (conducting research on inland and coastal freshwater systems in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and in Bermuda), as a diver for the Pittsburgh Aquazoo, in an advertising graphics agency, and in the Pittsburgh steel mills.

Tiffany Higgins, a 2022 Fulbright scholar to Brazil’s Amazon, writes on Brazil and the environment. As well as translating from Portuguese, she is the author of two collections of poems, And Aeneas Stares into Her Helmet (2009), selected by Evie Shockley as the winner of the 2008 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Prize, and the long-poem chapbook, The Apparition at Fort Bragg. Her poetry, literary translation from Portuguese, and journalism appear in Granta, Mongabay, Poetry, and elsewhere. She was the 2020 Annie Clark Tanner Fellow in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah.

Eli Clare. White, disabled, and genderqueer, Eli Clare lives near Lake Champlain in the occupied Abenaki territory (also known as Vermont) where he writes and proudly claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written two books of creative non-fiction, the award-winning Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure (Duke U Press, 2017) and Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, and a collection of poetry, The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion, and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. Eli speaks, teaches, and facilitates all over the United States and Canada at conferences, community events, and colleges about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice. He is currently a University at Buffalo Center for Diversity Innovation Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Among other pursuits, he has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program, and helped organize the first-ever Queerness and Disability Conference.

Lehua M. Taitano is a queer CHamoru writer and interdisciplinary artist from Yigu, Guåhan (Guam) and co-founder of Art 25: Art in the Twenty-fifth Century. She is the author of two volumes of poetry—Inside Me an Island and A Bell Made of Stones, and her chapbook, appalachiapacificwon the  Merriam-Frontier Award for short fiction. She has two recent chapbooks of poetry and visual art:  Sonoma and Capacity. Her poetry, essays, and Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction have been published internationally. She is the recipient of a 2019 Eliza So Fellowship and the 2019 Summer Poet-in-Residence at The Poetry Center at The University of Arizona. She has served as an APAture Featured Literary Artist via Kearny Street Workshop, a Kuwentuhan poet via The Poetry Center at SFSU, and as a Culture Lab visual artist and curatorial advisor for the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American Center. Taitano’s work investigates modern indigeneity, decolonization, and cultural identity in the context of diaspora. Future Ancestors, Art 25’s collaboration with Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng, was part of AFTER LIFE (we survive), Winter 2021–22 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. More here.