André Naffis-Sahely and LeAnne Howe in Conversation


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This week, we hear from one of the co-editors of the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology – yes the very first. It’s called When The Light of The World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. It was edited by Poet Laureate Joy Harjo with Jennifer Elise Foerster and LeAnne Howe.

Organized by geographical region, each section begins with a poem from traditional oral literatures and closes with an emerging poet. Contributors range from Eleazar, a seventeenth-century Native student at Harvard, to Jake Skeets, a Diné poet born in 1991.

The poet, translator, and critic André Naffis-Sahely reviewed the anthology in the April 2021 issue of Poetry. Today he speaks with co-editor LeAnne Howe about how the anthology came to be, and why it took so long to get here. Howe, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, opens the conversation with a Choctaw chant.

You’ll hear two poems from the anthology. Ishki, Mother, Upon Leaving the Choctaw Homelands, 1831 by LeAnne Howe and The Old Man’s Lazy by Peter Blue Cloud.

110 episodi