Award-winning Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui to read at UAlbany, February 18, 2016

Related Media

Shermin Bitsui, Navajo poet Photo credit: Valaurie Yazzie

ALBANY, NY (02/04/2016)(readMedia)-- Award-winning Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui will read from his work on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the University at Albany's uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

Sherwin Bitsui, a Diné (Navajo) from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona, is the author of the poetry collections Shapeshift (2003) and Flood Song (2009). Publishers Weekly called Flood Song "a powerful collection from a promising poet," and Poets & Writers described it as "a sprawling, panoramic journey through landscape, time, and cultures-well worth the ride." Steeped in Navajo mythology and history, and rich with details of the landscape of the Southwest, Bitsui's work explores collisions between Native American culture and contemporary American life.

Writer and filmmaker Sherman Alexie stated, "Bitsui sees violent beauty in the American landscape. There are junipers, black ants, axes, and cities dragging their bridges. I can hear Whitman's drums in these poems and I can see Ginsberg's supermarkets. But above all else, there is an indigenous eccentricity, 'a cornfield at the bottom of a sandstone canyon,' that you will not find anywhere else."

Bitsui's prizes include the Whiting Writers' Award, American Book Award, PEN Open Book Award, and Lannan Literary Fellowship. In 2012, he was honored with an NACF (Native Arts & Cultures Foundation) Artist Fellowship in Literature. He has served in visiting faculty positions, including Eminent Writer for the University of Wyoming, Visiting Hugo Writer at the University of Montana, and at San Diego State University, where he has been on the creative writing faculty since 2013. Since 2013, he has served on the faculty of the Institute of American Indian Arts in the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing program.

For additional information or to learn more about future Writers Institute events, please visit or call 518-442-5620.