LeAnne Howe and Tacey M. Atsitty

Our Songs Came Through: A Celebration of Native Nations Poetry

Thursday, November 18, 2021, 7:30 pm
Virtual Reading with a moderated conversation to follow. | 7:30pm-9pm Eastern Time
$5-$30 ($15 suggested price)

Inspired by When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, an Anthology of Native Nations Poetry.

Late last fall, United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo along with LeAnne Howe and Jennifer Elise Foerster edited a new groundbreaking anthology of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 Indigenous nations, in a comprehensive Native poetry anthology. This landmark anthology celebrates the Indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries.

One of the contributors, Tacey M. Atsitty and one of the editors, LeAnne Howe, will read from their own poetry and highlight the writings of other emerging Indigenous poets. This reading will be followed by a moderated conversation where audience members can also ask their own questions. 

River Sonnet

Water levels have bled out,
like it had just bitten its lip
& was about to swell— then rip:
had I paid better attention to drought,
listened more to the stars and stayed
with mountain clouds, I’d have let go
of the knot swing hanging above the slow
life flow beneath my legs, I’d have prayed

to forget all the times he came to me
but not wanted me: how fast it rises,
carrying plumes of pang in undercurrent:
swirls of sediment & silt around my knees—
the dragging stalks and leaves of irises,
how pathetic they look breaking in torrent—

Copyright Tacey M. Atsitty

Ishki, Mother, Upon Leaving the Choctaw Homelands, 1831

Right here is where I once suckled babies into Red people
Right here we grew three sisters into Corn, Beans, and Squash
Right here we gave goods to all who hungered
Right here we nurtured abundance.

Right here my body was a cycle of giving until
Torn from our homelands by the Naholla, and
Andrew Jackson, the duteous seamster
Intent on opening all veins.

Right here there’s a hole of sorrow in the center of my chest
A puncture
A chasm of muscle

Right here I will stitch my wounds and live on
And sing,
And sing,
I am singing, still.

Copyright LeAnne Howe


The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series is pleased to partner with East City Bookshop, an independently run, women owned bookstore on Capitol Hill. Pickup is available at the shop, or they ship (almost) anywhere! Check their website, eastcitybookshop.com.

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