Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) To Host Continuing Education Poetry Workshop with Luci Tapahonso

Dr. Luci Tapahonso (Navajo)

Published June 19, 2017

Inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation and
UNM Professor Emerita to Lead 2-Day Immersive Program 

SANTA FE – The IAIA Continuing Education Department has enlisted noted poet and educator Luci Tapahonso (Navajo) to host a 2-day Poetry Workshop on the IAIA Campus on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, 2017, from 10:00 am-4:00 pm each day.  The campus is located at 83 Avan Nu Po Road, on the South Side of Santa Fe — just minutes from the intersection of Rodeo Road and Richards Avenue. Lunch and Refreshments will be provided.

Luci Tapahonso was born on the Navajo reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico and was raised in a traditional way along with 11 siblings. English was not spoken on the family farm, and Tapahonso learned it as a second tongue after her native Navajo. Following schooling at Navajo Methodist School in Farmington, New Mexico, she attended Shiprock High School and graduated in 1971. She embarked on a career as a journalist and investigative reporter before beginning her studies at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 1976. There she first met the novelist and poet Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), who was a faculty member and who proved to be an important influence on Tapahonso’s early writing. She initially intended to study journalism at New Mexico, but Silko convinced her to change her major to creative writing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1980. In 1983, Tapahonso received her MA in Creative Writing, and she proceeded to teach; first at UNM and later at the University of Kansas, the University of Arizona, and again at UNM.

In Navajo teachings, it’s said that the “sacred begins at the tip of my tongue.” What does this mean and how does it apply to poetry? In this two-day workshop, participants will explore this concept and write poems with a focus on the importance of place, family history, personal memories, and their connections to community. Participants will write in both open form and fixed form.

Participants should be prepared to immerse themselves in poetry, to write new poems in response to prompts, and to create at least three new poems. Bring your preferred method for writing: journal, notepad, or laptop. Poems will be compiled and printed for Saturday’s class.

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