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Sherwin Bitsui First UW Fall Semester Eminent Writer in Residence

August 27, 2013 — Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui will give several public readings this fall as a University of Wyoming Eminent Writer in Residence.

Bitsui arrives Sept. 1 for a two-month residency, during which he will teach a class on Navajo poetry, give several public readings, and visit UW classes. Funding from the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowment, awarded to both the American Indian Studies Program and the MFA Program in Creative Writing, supports Bitsui’s residency at UW.

Bitsui will give a public reading and sign books Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Senate Chambers. He will be a featured reader in “Listening to Nature,” a public event scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in UW’s Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, and at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the Central Wyoming College Intertribal Education and Community Center in Riverton. The Haub School of Environmental and Natural Resources and the Wyoming Outdoor Council host both “Listening to Nature” programs.

In a June 26 interview in “This Week from Indian Country Today,” Bitsui said, “I grew up in a traditional family, and I always knew that language is powerful, that it can enact things, and change things and transform them. But when I saw contemporary forms of poetry, in books, anthologies, the way poets (expressed themselves) was very familiar.”

Raised on the Navajo Indian Reservation, Bitsui attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M., and the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is the author of two poetry collections: “Flood Song” (Copper Canyon, 2009); and “Shapeshift” (University of Arizona, 2003).

Space is still available in Bitsui’s class, “Navajo Poetry and Poetics,” offered through both the American Indian Studies Program and the Department of English.

Created in 2006 by the Wyoming State Legislature, the Higher Education Endowment brings distinguished scholars and educators to Wyoming. The legislation directed UW to strengthen instruction and research in disciplines related to economic and social challenges facing Wyoming.

For more information about Bitsui’s residency at UW, contact American Indian Studies at (307) 766-6521 or The MFA Program at (307) 766-6453.

Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui is a University of Wyoming Eminent Writer in Residence for fall 2013.

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