Poem Sampler

Native American Poetry and Culture

A selection of poets, poems, and articles exploring the Native American experience

 

Joy Harjo writes, “The literature of the aboriginal people of North America defines America. It is not exotic. The concerns are particular, yet often universal.” The poets and poems gathered here showcase the universal and the particular approaches Native American authors have taken to writing about diverse, indigenous cultures. 

Poetry Foundation editors have curated this collection of Native American poets, both established and widely read ones along with voices of a new generation, from some of the many U.S. tribes. Their poems bear historical witness, demonstrate the strength of the Native American spirit, argue crucial political and social issues, while illuminating a vibrant cultural heritage. This collection is intended to be inclusive, in order to introduce new readers  to a broad range of poets. To make suggestions for additions to this sampler, please contact us

The editors would like to thank Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, for her help in compiling our selection and for sending us the Native American poetry bibliographies (1993-2014) that she helped to compile with the AWP Indigenous/Aboriginal American Caucus administration. We also wish to thank those readers who write in to help us improve this feature. (Last updated October 14, 2014.)

 

POETS

Adrian C. Louis, Lovelock Paiute

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Metis, Cherokee, and Huron

Anita EndrezzeYaqui

Barney Bush, Shawnee/Cayuga

Beth Brant, Mohawk

Carolyn Dunn, Muskogee, Cherokee, Seminole

Carter Revard, Osage

Cathy Tagnak Rexford, Inupiaq

Cedar Sigo, Suquamish

Cheryl Savageau, Abenaki

Chip Livingston, Poarch Creek

Chrystos, Menominee

Craig Santos PerezChamoru

Deborah A. MirandaOhlone-Costanoan Esselen

Denise Low, Lenape (Delaware) and Cherokee

Diane Burns, Chemehuevi and Anishinaabe

Diane Glancy, Cherokee

dg okpik, Inupiaq-Inuit

Duane NiatumS’Klallam

Elise Paschen, Osage 

Elizabeth WoodyConfederate Tribes of Warm Springs

Emily Pauline Johnson, Mohawk

Esther BelinDiné (Navajo)

Gail TremblayOnondaga/Mi’Kmaq

Garry GottfriedsonSecwepemc First Nation

Gerald Vizenor, Anishinaabe and Chippewa

Gladys CardiffEastern Band of Cherokee

Gordon HenryWhite Earth Chippewa

Heid E. Erdrich, Ojibwe (Turtle Mountain)

Hershman John, Navajo

Jack D. Forbes, Powhatan-Renápe, Delaware-Lenápe

James Thomas Stevens, Akwesasne Mohawk

Janice Gould, Koyoonk’auwi (Concow)

Jennifer Elise Foerster, Muscogee Creek

Joan Kane, Inupiaq-Inuit

Joseph Bruchac, Abenaki

Joy Harjo, Muskogee Creek

Karenne WoodMonacan Indian Nation

Kimberly Blaeser, White Earth Chippewa and Anishinaabe

LeAnne HoweChoctaw

Leslie Marmon SilkoLaguna Pueblo

Linda Hogan, Chickasaw

Lorna Dee Cervantes, Chumash

Louise ErdrichChippewa

Luci Tapahonso, Diné (Navajo)

M.L. SmokerSioux and Assiniboine

Marcie R. Rendon, White Earth Anishinaabe

Margo TamezLipan Apache and Jumano Apache

Mark Turcotte, Chippewa

Marnie Walsh, Dakota 

N. Scott Momaday, Kiowa

Natalie Diaz, Mojave

Nora Marks DauenhauerTlingit

Nora Naranjo-Morse, Tewa, Santa Clara Pueblo

Ofelia ZepedaTohone O’odham (formerly Papago) Nation

Orlando White, Diné (Navajo)

Paula Nelson, Cherokee

Phillip Carroll MorganChoctaw/Chickasaw

Qwo-Li Driskill, Cherokee

Rain C. Goméz, Louisiana Choctaw, Creek

Ralph Salisbury, Cherokee

Ray A. Young Bear, Meskwaki

Roberta Hill, Wisconsin Oneida

Santee Frazier, Cherokee

Sara Littlecrow-RussellAnishinaabeg (Ojibwe) and Han-Naxi Métis

Sara Marie Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo

Sherman Alexie, Spokane/Coeur d’Alene

Sherwin BitsuiDiné (Navajo)

Simon J. Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo

Stuart Youngman “Sy” Hoawah, Comanche

Tiffany Midge, Standing Rock Sioux and Hunkpapa Lakota

Wendy Rose, Hopi and Miwok

William Oandasan, Yuki

 

ARTICLES & PODCASTS
Recent explorations of Native American experience in prose and conversation.

A comprehensive bibliography of Native American poetry publications, compiled by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

‘Indians in T-shirts’: The Institute of American Indian Arts, now in its 50th year, encourages its students to upend conventional expectations of Native American culture

Joy Harjo's weeklong journal 

Craig Santos Perez's posts on Harriet: the blog

Three Native American Poets”, a Poetry Lectures podcast featuring Sherwin Bitsui, Allison Adele Hedge Coke, and Linda Hogan

 

Originally Published: March 21, 2013

COMMENTS (5)

On October 23, 2013 at 12:41am Dr. Dorene Wiese wrote:
I am sure,the Chicago American Indian community would love to co-host an event at the foundation for Native American Month.

On October 31, 2013 at 3:18pm Timothy Dorsey wrote:
Among many others:

Jennifer Foerster
Joan Naviyuk Kane
dg nanouk okpik
Orlando White

On December 26, 2013 at 11:51am Leigh wrote:
I really appreciate this list, thank you! Could someone please fix the links? :)

On March 4, 2014 at 5:03pm allison adelle hedge coke wrote:
I think Jennifer and Orlando are on here, but dg okpik and Joan Kane
are definitely needing to be included still.

On October 10, 2014 at 12:20pm Melissa J. Rickey wrote:
You must include Lucy Tapahonso, Navajo --Sa'anii Dahataat-The Women
Are Singing (1993) and her newer ones and James Welch, Blackfoot and
Gros Ventre and Irish-- Riding the Earth boy -40- ( 1971) !

POST A COMMENT

Poetryfoundation.org welcomes comments that foster dialogue and cultivate an open community on the site. Comments on articles must be approved by the site moderators before they appear on the site. By submitting a comment, you give the Poetry Foundation the right to publish it. Please note: We require comments to include a name and e-mail address. Read more about our privacy policy.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.