April 22, 2021
A book release celebration for The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature featured celebrated Diné poets and writers, as well as a special visit from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez.
The online event on Wednesday, April 21, presented by the University of Arizona Press and Birchbark Books, also included the anthology’s editors Esther G. Belin, Jeff Berglund, Connie A. Jacobs, and Anthony Webster. Contributors Sherwin Bitsui, Luci Tapahonso, Laura Tohe, Bojan Louis, Irene Hamilton, Tina Deschenie, Jake Skeets, and Orlando White honored the event reading their work.
The Diné Reader was developed as a way to demonstrate both the power of Diné literary artistry and the persistence of the Navajo people. The volume opens with a foreword by Bitsui, who offers insight into the importance of writing to the Navajo people. The editors then introduce the volume by detailing the literary history of the Diné people, establishing the context for the tremendous diversity of the works that follow, which includes free verse, sestinas, limericks, haiku, prose poems, creative nonfiction, mixed genres, and oral traditions reshaped into the written word.
Please check out the following links to learn more about the work of the contributors:
Of Cartography by Esther Belin https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/of-cartography
Tseyi: Deep in the Rock by Laura Tohe https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/tseyi-deep-in-the-rock
A Radiant Curve by Luci Tapahonso https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/a-radiant-curv
Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui https://www.coppercanyonpress.org/books/dissolve-by-sherwin-bitsui/
Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets https://milkweed.org/book/eyes-bottle-dark-with-a-mouthful-of-flowers
Currents by Bojan Louis https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9781943491117/currents.aspx
LettERRS by Orlando White https://nightboat.org/book/letterrs/