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In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the next four #2sDayPoems posts will highlight work by my favorite native writers.

I’ve been a fan of  Joan Naviyuk Kane (Inupiaq) since 2009 when her first collection The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife was released by Northshore Press. As you’ll see from the link, it’s now available in a second edition as part of the Alaska Literary Series. Anyhow, I was delighted to find (and share with you) her poemCompass,” which is read to you by the author in both English and Inupiaq.

You can hear a few more of her poems scattered throughout this interview with West Texas Talk. Her latest book Milk Black Carbon, released early this year, should be at the top of your wishlist.


Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota) definitely blew me away with her debut collection Whereas (Graywolf Press).  It is currently a finalist for the National Book Award and has been reviewed and recommended by The New York Times, the LA Times and several other national publications.  And though, you may have heard her name connected to the pipeline issue at Standing Rock, she insists that she never set out to be a political poet.

That statement is in spite of the fact that the book grew out of news of the buried apology to Native Americans in the Defense Appropriations Act of 2009. Boy was that thing buried! Read this excerpt from the collection for yourself, and you’ll see that she is an extraordinary talent, who arrived on the scene just in time.

Also, be sure to check out  this interesting interview on poetry as prayer, or this one at DiveDapper for more of her encouraging words.