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Our Songs Came Through: A Night of Indigenous Poetry

October 15, 2020 @ 5:30 pm


October 15 – Join us for an Indigenous Peoples’ Day virtual poetry reading to celebrate the newly published Norton Anthology of native nations poetry titled, “When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through.” This is the first comprehensive poetry anthology featuring Indigenous poets edited by Joy Harjo, the United States’ first Indigenous Poet Laureate. Featured readers will be: Tacey Atsitty, Kimberly Blaeser, Sherwin Bitsui, Heid Erdrich, and Roberta Hill. Reading will be moderated by Tanaya Winder.

This event has a $5 suggested donation with a limited number of virtual tickets. All donations will be split 50/50 between the Dairy Arts Center and Sacred Voices. If you are unable to donate at this time, but would still like to attend free of charge, please email Shay Wescott, Operations Manager at swescott@thedairy.org to be added to the guest list and receive access to the virtual event on October 15.  THE FIRST 20 REGISTRATIONS WILL RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK!


Purchase the book here

About the Readers:

Sherwin Bitsui (Diné) is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He is Diné of the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tl’izilani (Many Goats Clan). He is the author of Shapeshift, Flood Song, and Dissolve. His honors include a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship and a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship. He is also the recipient of a 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. He is on faculty at Northern Arizona University.



Tacey M. Atsitty, Diné (Navajo), is Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People) and born for Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle People). She is a recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize, Morning Star Creative Writing Award, and the Philip Freund Prize. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University and the Institute of American Indian Arts, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY, EPOCH, Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, New Poets of Native Nations, and other publications. Her first book is Rain Scald (University of New Mexico Press, 2018).


Kimberly Blaeser, past Wisconsin Poet Laureate, is the author of five poetry collections including Copper Yearning, Apprenticed to Justice, and, the forthcoming bi-lingual Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance. An Indigenous activist and environmentalist from White Earth Reservation, she also edited Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry. Blaeser is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and MFA faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Her photographs, picto-poems, and ekphrastic pieces have been included in exhibits such as “Ancient Light” and “Visualizing Sovereignty.” She lives in rural Wisconsin; and, for portions of each year, in a water-access cabin near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Blaeser is the founder of the literary organization In-Na-Po—Indigenous Nations Poets.

Heid E. Erdrich is the author of seven collections of poetry. Her writing has won fellowships and awards from the National Poetry Series, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Bush Foundation, Loft Literary Center, First People’s Fund, and other honors. She has twice won a Minnesota Book Award for poetry. Heid edited the 2018 anthology New Poets of Native Nations from Graywolf Press. Her forthcoming poetry collection is Little Big Bully, Penguin Editions, out Oct. 6th, 2020. Heid grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain.


Roberta Hill Whiteman grew up near Green Bay, Wisconsin, among the Oneida community, and she earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the poetry collections Cicadas: New & Selected Poems (2013), Star Quilt (1984, 1999), and Philadelphia Flowers: Poems (1995). Her first book, Star Quilt, juxtaposes her ancestral culture with formal approaches to verse. The poems revolve around six basic directions: north, south, east, west, skyward, and earthward. A sense of dispossession engendered by forced migration has long been a part of Oneida culture and is evident in Hill’s poetry. She employs the dominant iambic rhythms of Western culture while capturing the personal and cultural loss of the Oneida.

Tanaya Winder is an author, singer/songwriter, poet, motivational speaker, and educator who comes from an intertribal lineage of Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Duckwater Shoshone Nations where she is an enrolled citizen. Her heritage also includes African American. Tanaya’s performances and talks emphasize the importance of “heartwork” – the life path one is meant to follow by using his/her/their gifts and passions. She blends storytelling, singing, and spoken word to teach about different expressions of love (self-love, intimate love, social love, community love, and universal love). She is the Director of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Upward Bound program; during her 10 years there she has served hundreds of Indigenous youth. She also co-founded Sing Our Rivers Red’s MMIW earring exhibit. Tanaya believes everyone has a gift they’ve been placed on this earth to share. Her specialties include youth & women empowerment, healing trauma through art, creative writing workshops, and mental wellness advocacy.


October 15, 2020
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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2590 Walnut Street
Boulder, 80302 United States
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303 444-7328
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MARCH 2020

As of today, 3/12/2020, The Dairy Arts Center remains open and operational. Should scheduling changes occur, ticket holders will be directly notified by The Dairy Arts Center.

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