Friday, September 28, 2012

Literary Santa Fe

When I was in graduate school at the University of Montana, I wrote a grant to the National Endowment for the Arts to bring in three visiting writers for readings and class visits. Other than those three, we'd rarely see a real living writer on campus--except for our distinguished professors. Luckily the town was crawling with writers, so we'd see them elsewhere--at the East Gate or the grocery store or Freddy's Feed & Read, the local book store.
Natalie Diaz

What a difference at the Institute of American Arts where I have taught for 22 years. Thanks to the Lannan Foundation (I'll have more to say about the Lannan folks here soon), to our location, to the web of connections that Arthur Sze bequeathed us, to the developing network of indigenous writers who recognize IAIA as an important locus of activity, to our own brilliant and dedicated alums, we've been blessed with a diverse array of writers year after year. In the last 24 hours, we had dinner and a reading with novelist Jayne Anne Phillips, lunch and a reading with Mojave/Pima poet Natalie Diaz, and a book launch and reading with IAIA alum dg nanouk okpik (Inupiat-Inuit).
dg nanouk okpik

On October 9, Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamun will visit. On October 12 & 13, we have alums Elizabeth Woody, Sherwin Bitsui, dg nanouk okpik, James Thomas Stevens, and Joy Harjo on campus to help us celebrate our 50th Anniversary. We also have Natanya Ann Pulley and Layli Long Soldier coming up later in the fall. In the spring poets Jenny Boully and Lisa Jarnot, and fiction writer Junot Diaz are scheduled to visit.

Even our dean and our faculty secretary are poets. In fact, Dean Ann Filemyr will be reading in our library at 4 pm on October 23. The library will feature readings by our creative writing faculty, Evelina Zuni Lucero and James Thomas Stevens, in the spring.

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