Luci Tapahonso has been named the first Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. The announcement was made by Navajo Technical College (NTC) President Dr. Elmer J. Guy. Tapahonso will be formally introduced to the public at NTC's spring commencement on May 17th.
Dr. Guy said in a statement, "A poet laureate is being honored by the Navajo Nation and Navajo Technical College in an effort to encourage other Navajo poets, writers, film makers, and artists to realize how important their work is to the continuance and growth of Navajo contemporary culture. Luci represents the best of what it is to be Diné, honoring our traditions, while at the same time forming a contemporary voice that speaks beautifully to all people."
Luci was born in Shiprock, NM in 1953 to a family of 11 children. She received her bachelors and masters degrees from the University of New Mexico while majoring in English. She has taught English at the University of Kansas and the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Tapahonso is the author of five books of poetry and stories and one children's book. Her poetry collections include Saanii Dahataal
(1993) and Blue Horses Rush In
(1997). She was named the Storyteller of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers om 1999. She also won the the Region Book Award from the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association in 1998. You can find her bio here
Photo: University of Arizona Press