February 1, 2024
Our wonderful Tucson community came out on January 30, to celebrate the publication of Simon J. Ortiz’s first collection of poems in 20 years, Light As Light. Hosted by the University of Arizona’s Special Collections, we had the privilege of hearing Simon read from his poems. Afterward, Ortiz discussed language, literature, and sovereignty in a conversation with Ofelia Zepeda. The event was sponsored by The University of Arizona Press, the University Libraries Special Collections, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Special thanks to everyone who came out to support our authors!
Enjoy the photos below for a recap of the event:
About the book:
Light As Light is acclaimed poet Simon J. Ortiz’s first collection in twenty years. The poems in this volume celebrate the wonders and joy of love in the present while also looking back with both humorous and serious reflections on youth and the stories, scenes, people, and places that shape a person’s life. Light As Light brims with giddy, wistful long-distance love poems that offer a dialogue between the speaker and his beloved. Written in Ortiz’s signature conversational style, this volume claims poetry for everyday life as the poems find the speaker on a morning run, burnt out from academic responsibilities, missing his beloved, reflecting on sobriety, walking the dog, and pondering the act of poem making. The collection also includes prayer poems written for the speaker’s son; poems that retell traditional Acoma stories and history; and poems that engage environmental, political, and social justice issues—making for a well-rounded collection that blends the playful and the profound.
Simon J. Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo) is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and storyteller, and a retired Regents Professor of English and American Indian Studies at Arizona State University. Ortiz is the author of Out There Somewhere, Men on the Moon: Collected Short Stories, After and Before the Lightning, Woven Stone, and from Sand Creek. He is also the editor of Beyond the Reach of Time and Change: Native American Reflections on the Frank A. Rinehart Photograph Collection and Speaking for the Generations: Native Writers on Writing, as well as the author of the children’s book, The Good Rainbow Road. In 1982, Ortiz won a Pushcart Prize for from Sand Creek. He is also the recipient of the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award, the New Mexico Humanities Council Humanitarian Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Discovery Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and he was an Honored Poet at the 1981 White House Salute to Poetry. In 1993, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Returning the Gift Festival of Native Writers (the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers) and the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.