Simon Ortiz: Indigenous Sing the Americas
Article, photo and video by Brenda Norrell
TUCSON -- Simon Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo, reading from the threads of Indigenous Peoples and their lives, from the soil of Sand Creek to the battered voices of a treatment center, Ortiz brings the heart and soul of the people to life.
Ortiz joined O'odham poet Ofelia Zepeda, who shared the O'odham word sounds of the desert quails, and emerging poet Natalie Diaz, Gila River O'otham/Fort Mojave at the Tucson Festival of Books. Diaz, author of "When my Brother was Aztec," read her poetry of living with a brother addicted to meth and another wrenching poem on hunger and commodity raisins.
"The whole of the Americas sings through its Indigenous Peoples," Ortiz said, introducing the new book of Native poetry from North, Central and South America: 'Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas.'
"I've been here before," Ortiz reads, as he brings listeners back to the heartland, the canyon, the homeland.
Ortiz reads from Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, edited by Alison Hedge Coke, U. of Arizona Press, 2011. The second selection is Out There Somewhere, Simon J. Ortiz, U. of Arizona Press, 2002. The third selection is Third one was from Sand Creek, U. of Arizona Press, 2000
Listen to Ortiz, professor at Arizona State University, read from 'Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas,' and other selections, at the Tucson Festival of Books. Part I.
Update: Watch Parts II and III at: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/03/simon-ortiz-reads-at-tucson-book.html
Wikipedia: Ortiz is a recipient of the New Mexico Humanities Council Humanitarian Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Discovery Award, the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and was an Honored Poet recognized at the 1981 White House Salute to Poetry. That year, From Sand Creek: Rising In This Heart Which Is Our America, received the Pushcart Prize in poetry. Ortiz also received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Returning the Gift Festival of Native Writers (the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers) and from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas (1993).