Sherman Alexie on his decision to include a poem by a white poet masquerading as an Asian-American poet in Best American Poetry

Here. His decision is the subject of heated debate right now in the poetry world. It may be unpopular, but I think Alexie did the right thing. There is after all at least a fiction that we value poems based on their artistic achievement, not based on who wrote them. The privileged poet who submitted under an ethnic pen name was misguidedly trying to prove that wrong and was sadly blind to his own privilege as a white male poet, but if Alexie had retroactively ousted his poem based on the misleading pen name it would seem to suggest that the value of poems is all about who wrote them. In which case, we may as well leave writing to the already famous.

Poetry Submissions Sought from Native Americans in or from California


Deadline: June 1, 2015

Red Indian Road West:
Native American Poetry from California

To be published by Scarlet Tanager Books:

Who should submit? Native American poets from California tribes as well as poets from tribes nationwide who were born or currently live in California. All poems submitted should relate directly or indirectly to Native American experience in California. Please send 3 to 5 poems, tribal affiliation, and a short bio (no longer than 150 words) to Lucille Lang Day: lucyday[AT]scarlettanager[DOT]com. Either a Word .doc attachment or pasted text is okay. Payment is one copy of anthology.


Luke Warm Water (Oglala Lakota) has been published in Shedding Skins: Four Sioux Poets (Michigan State University Press, 2008) and in many literary magazines and anthologies. He was a featured poet at the prestigious Geraldine R. Dodge 12th Biennial Poetry Festival. Luke’s poetry collection City Tree of Concrete and Hope received an Artists Embassy International literary/cultural award in 2013.

Lucille Lang Day (Wampanoag) is the author of ten poetry collections and chapbooks, including The Curvature of Blue, Infinities, and Wild One. Her chapbook Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems won the 2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize and Chapbook Contest and will be published in 2015. Her full-length collection Becoming an Ancestor will appear in 2015 from Červená Barva Press.


Review of poetry chapbook

Here’s a review poet Mary Kasimor wrote about my poetry chapbook, White Out (Green Fuse Poetic Arts 2013).  The poems are about white privilege and race, and a few of them talk about being a non-Native person and working for tribes.

MSU Press Book Announcement: Gwen Westerman’s “Follow the Blackbirds”

Here.WestermanCompF.indd Gwen is a brilliant writer and thinker, and one of my favorite people. Buy her book.


In language as perceptive as it is poignant, poet Gwen Nell Westerman builds a world in words that reflects the past, present, and future of the Dakota people. An intricate balance between the singularity of personal experience and the unity of collective longing, Follow the Blackbirds speaks to the affection and appreciation a contemporary poet feels for her family, community, and environment. With touches of humor and the occasional sharp cultural criticism, the voice that emerges from these poems is that of a Dakota woman rooted in her world and her words. In this moving collection, Westerman reflects on history and family from a unique perspective, one that connects the painful past and the hard-fought future of her Dakota homeland. Grounded in vivid story and memory, Westerman draws on both English and the Dakota language to celebrate the long journey along sunflower-lined highways of the tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains that returns her to a place filled with “more than history.” An intense homage to the power of place, this book tells a masterful story of cultural survival and the power of language.

Poetry chapbook contest for Native poets

Here’s the info. I received from a listserv:

2013 Native Writers Chapbook Series Contest

The Sequoyah National Research Center is pleased to announce the return of their Poetry Chapbook Award for emerging American Indian writers. One manuscript will be published annually, and although there is no cash prize, the writer selected will receive 250 copies of their chapbook to distribute at will. The winning manuscript will also be archived in our prestigious Tribal Writers Digital Library.

Guidelines are as follows:

• The Sequoyah Chapbook Award is open to any member of a federally recognized tribe in the United States. Individual must be either enrolled as a member of that tribe or accepted by that community as a member.

• Manuscripts, which need not be Native American in theme or subject matter, should be between 20 to 36 pages of poems, bound with a clip, single-spaced, one poem per page, paginated consecutively, with a table of contents and acknowledgments. Previous journal or magazine publication (web or print) is encouraged with acknowledgements, but we will not reprint work that has appeared as a whole in books (self-published or otherwise).

• A cover letter is required that identifies the writer’s tribal affiliation and has all contact information, including name, complete mailing address, email, and phone number. A short bio would also be helpful.

• We ask that you not submit manuscript simultaneously to other publishers or contests; winner will be notified no later than June 15, 2013.

• There is no reading fee, and manuscripts will not be read anonymously. All things being equal, we will select the work of emerging authors over established ones.

• Please include a stamped, self-addressed postcard for confirmation of receipt of your manuscript.

• Manuscript must be postmarked between March 15 and May 1, 2013. Anything received after that reading period will be returned unread. We do not accept email submissions. Please mail submission to:

Professor Nickole Brown, Department of English
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, AR 72204

• Questions should be emailed to Professor Brown at lnbrownATualrDOTedu Again, please do not email poems.

Yellow Medicine Review #3

Just in our mailbox, the third issue of the Yellow Medicine Review. This issue features art, poetry, and prose from Pat LeBeau (MSU), Ray Young Bear, Meg Noori (U-M), Heid Erdrich (guest editor), Lise Erdrich, and one of our favorite people, Denise Lajimodiere.

Here are a couple samples:

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