Writing, Reading and Living

 “There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.”―Linda Hogan

Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits

Tending the Fire by photographer Christopher Felver with an Introduction by Linda Hogan and a foreword by Simon J. Ortiz, celebrates the poets and writers who represent the wide range of Native American voices in literature today. In these commanding portraits, Felver’s distinctive visual signature and unobtrusive presence capture each artist’s strength, integrity, and character. Accompanying each portrait is a handwritten poem or prose piece that helps reveal the origin of the poet’s language and legends.

As the individuals share their unique voices, Tending the Fire introduces us to the diversity and complexity of Native culture through the authors’ generous and passionate stories, reminding us that “Native Americans today are as modern as the Space Age, and each in their own way carries forth the cultural heritage ‘from whence they came.’ Their abiding legacy as the first people of this continent has found its voice in the hard-won wisdom of their art and activism.

I’m honored to have my work and portrait included.
University of New Mexico Press

"I'm not a German person, I'm not a white person, I'm not a totally Native person. But somehow I can move between these worlds very easily." Louise Erdrich

For me, with my Cherokee, Delaware, Seneca, German ancestry, Erdrich’s words are a metaphor for my life. I’m traveling incognito, and at times my mixed heritage allows me to remain an outsider in my writing. 

As a person of the world I wear the face of a woman with light skin privilege. My gray hair and wrinkled neck speak for me. The placement of my eyes, small, deep-set above broad-boned cheeks, and my wherewithal attest that I’m a rough around the edges mixed blood. But what you cannot see is how the language of adoption gives me deep roots into Korean lifeways. While my son, Korean-born, explored what it meant to be Korean American, I sank in roots. My soul is connected and years in the Korean community shaped and changed me. Those thinking they know what to expect when they see my face will not identify me as a member of an Asian blended family, or understand that my heart is connected to Korean ethnicity.

The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal

Native literature, composed of western literary tradition is packed into the hyphens of the oral tradition. It is termed a “renaissance” but contemporary Native writing is both something old emerging in new forms and something that has never been asleep. The two-hundred-year-old myth of the vanishing American Indian still holds some credence in the American Southeast, the region from which tens of thousands of Indians were relocated after passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Yet, a significant Indian population remained behind after those massive relocations.

The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal is the first anthology to focus on the literary work of Native Americans with ancestry to “people who stayed” in southeastern states after 1830. This volume represents every state and every genre, including short stories, excerpts from novels, poetry, essays and plays. Although most works are contemporary, the collection covers the entire post-Removal era. While many speak to the prospects and perils of acculturation, all the writers bear witness to the ways, oblique or straightforward, that they and their families are connected and honor their Indian identities despite the legacy of removal. 

University of Oklahoma Press
I'm honored to have my work included in this anthology. 

In the Veins

POETRY | First Nations and American Indian Poets | Native Studies | History

In the Veins Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects 

I'm honored to have my work included.

Refection of Veins from Dr. Carol A. Hand, Anishinabe poet:

We are inter-connected branching vessels
carrying the pain of the earth back to source
like the roots of the sacred cedar
to heal and breathe new life into being?
Have we been forced deep underground,
pressurized through the weight of suffering,
to become a treasure sought by others
who don’t understand that we carry
healing powers in the wisdom of our ancestors?
Sacred life interwoven with sorrow, blood memory, in our very DNA

The beach lies smooth, flat, glistening after the night's tide, and the sand slips softly under my feet. Here there is plenty of time for silence. Once a week I take a day off from the internet. And after meeting demanding writing deadlines, or after a busy travel schedule or any time I need to weave more simplicity and solitude into my days and nights, I take a break and stay away from social media for a few days to give myself time to read, watch the sun rise, and set. To listen and give my full attention to my family and friends, and to daydream, putter, pray to the earth, rest and renew my spirit. 


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