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Literary event features Native American poet, Sherwin Bitsui

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Literary event features Native American poet, Sherwin Bitsui

By Lori Dugan

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s English Department will be hosting the first Visiting Writers Series event of the school year on November 16, 2006. The visit will begin with a free, 4 p.m. workshop in the Academic Programs building, room #271 by Native American poet, Sherwin Bitsui.

At 7:30 p.m. Bitsui will read from his collection of work at a free public performance in the Gherald L. Hoopes Jr. Activities Center—Gila/Galiuro Room.

Sherwin Bitsui, author of Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press, 2003), is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He is Diné of the Bitter Water People, born for the Manygoats People. He holds an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program and is the recipient of the 2000-01 Individual Poet Grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the 1999 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, and the 2002 University of Arizona Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Award. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Arizona in May 2005.

In May of 2005, Sherwin was invited to the Poetry Society of America’s Festival of New American Poets and, most recently, he completed a residency at the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

His poems have been published in American Poet, The Iowa Review, Frank (Paris), Red Ink, and elsewhere. Shapeshift is his first book. Arthur Sze, author of five books including The Redshifting Web, calls Shapeshift “a superb and hauntingly original debut.” In it, Bitsui takes on American culture and politics and their lack of spiritual grounding. “In struggling to reconcile the opposing forces of the natural world and technology,” Sze commented, “Sherwin Bitsui’s poems enact a personal ceremony, restoring balance to his and our world. These poems articulate the challenge a Native American person faces in reconciling his or her inherited lore and spirit with the bizarre coldness of postmodern civilization. Bitsui’s voice is his own—distinct, musical, and intense.”

For more information about the reading, contact EAC English instructor, Tracy Lassiter in the EAC English Department at 428-4098.