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Sherwin Bitsui poetry reading set for Nov. 15 at UNM-LA

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By The Staff

Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui will read his poetry at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos at 1 p.m. Nov. 15 in the UNM-LA Library as part of the celebration of National Native American Heritage Month on campus.

A Diné (Navajo), Bitsui studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe and now teaches for the MFA in Creative Writing for the IAIA. His honors include the 2011 Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Fellowship for Literature, a PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award and a Whiting Writers Award.

Bitsui, also a painter, described how he tries to capture images in words. “My poems come first from a sense of image, texture, color. In Navajo, we process thoughts and speak from a language that has different sensibilities. It includes a view of the land, plant life, animal life as part of the everyday perspective. To navigate in English is like moving through a different consciousness.”

At his readings, Bitsui asks the audience to close their eyes and watch the poem happen, to inhabit the place of the poem, as a way to journey in real time.

The community is invited to attend the reading. Visit losalamos.unm.edu/sherwin-bitsui-poet.html for more information.