Performance: Red Indian Road West Poetry

Monday, 11/9/2020
6:00 - 7:30
Virtual Library

United States

Kurt Schweigman (Oglala/Sicangu Lakota) and Lucille Lang Day (Wampanoag), editors of the award-winning anthology Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California  (Scarlet Tanager Books, 2016), will read with contributors Nanette Bradley Deetz (Dakoka, Lakota, Cherokee), Jewelle Gomez (Ioway, Wampanoag), Senna Heyatwin (Choctaw), Stephen Meadows (Ohlone) and Linda Noel (Konkow (Koyoonk’auwi)) to honor the 50th anniversary of the American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz. Just as the “Indians of All Tribes” who occupied Alcatraz 50 years ago represented many indigenous nations, the poets in Red Indian Road West, all of whom have spent significant portions of their lives in California, come both from California tribes and from many tribes nationwide. In addition to reading from the anthology, the poets will read work related to Alcatraz and new poems about the Native American experience in California. After reading, the poets will welcome questions and comments from the audience.


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Co-editor Kurt Schweigman has published and performed as Luke Warm Water in the past. His poetry appears in Shedding Skins: Four Sioux Poets (Michigan State University Press, 2008). He was a featured poet at the prestigious Geraldine R. Dodge 12th Biennial Poetry Festival (2008) and was the first spoken-word poet to receive an Archibald Bush Foundation individual artist fellowship in literature (2005). Although retired from competition, he has won Poetry Slams from California to Germany. Kurt is currently writing his first novel, which is based on his prose poem “Sitting Bull in Paris.” 

Co-editor Lucille Lang Day has published four poetry chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, including Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place (Blue Light Press, 2020) and Becoming an Ancestor (Červená Barva, 2015). She is also the author of two children’s books and a memoir. Her books have received the Joseph Henry Jackson Award, the Blue Light Poetry Prize and a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. Her poems, short stories and essays, which have appeared widely in literary magazines and anthologies, have received ten Pushcart Prize nominations. The founder and director of Scarlet Tanager Books, she is of Wampanoag, British and Swiss/German descent. Website | Twitter

Nanette Deetz is Dakota/Lakota, originally from Crow Creek, South Dakota and a Cherokee descendant from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (Taylor family) on her mother's side, and German American on her father's side. She holds a BA and MA from UCLA in theater arts/dance and a second MA in Counseling Psychology. Her poetry has been published in Peanut Butter Jamboree, 2002-2007; Turtle Island to Abya Yala: A Love Anthology of Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women; Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down and numerous other publications. She is the co-coordinator of the Alameda Island Poets, and in 2019 the 17th Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award for poetry and activism. She is a journalist for Indian Country Today, and Native News Online.

Jewelle Gomez (Ioway/Wampanoag/Cape Verdean) was born and raised in Boston during the fertile times of the Civil Rights, Anti-War, American Indian and Lesbian-Feminist Movements. She is the author of seven books, including the cult classic vampire novel, The Gilda Stories, which had an expanded 25th anniversary edition in 2016. Her play about James Baldwin premiered in 2011, and her play about singer/composer Alberta Hunter premiered in 2015. Her new novel about the reunion of 1960s Black student activists is looking for a home. Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook 

Senna Heyatawin, poet, was born in San Francisco, California, and is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Senna’s poems have been published in journals, magazines and anthologies and have won poetry prizes since the 1980s. She received her MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University.

Stephen Meadows is a Californian of pioneer and Ohlone descent. He has earned degrees from UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University. His poems have appeared in anthologies and journals nationwide, and one of them graces a bronze plaque in San Francisco. He has devoted much of his life to poetry, in an attempt to honor his ancestors and the beauty of the natural world. He is a veteran of public radio, where he has interviewed scores of musicians and visionaries from the British Isles to North America. He has done all kinds of work to keep the poems coming and once, long ago, was even a West Point cadet. Stephen now resides with his family in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. His poetry collection, Releasing the Days, was published by Heyday. Website

Linda Noel is of Koyoonk’auwi’ (Konkow) descent and grew up in Mendocino County. She resides in Ukiah, California, where she is Poet Laureate Emerita.

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