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Member since: Sun Jul 20, 2003, 04:09 PM
Number of posts: 27,910

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Native Writers and Audiences Come Together at Indigenous Reading Series

Indian Country Today Media Network interviewed me and several other indigenous writers and did an article on the reading series that I produce. - Bill

Native Writers and Audiences Come Together at Indigenous Reading Series

Christina Rose

Bill Wetzel, Blackfeet, is trying to do something he doesn’t think has been done before. Using the original word for Tucson, Arizona, Wetzel started the Stjukshon Indigenous Reading Series at Casa Libre En La Solana in Tucson, giving Native writers from across the United States an opportunity to showcase their talent.

Wetzel, 39, said, “I sit very much within my generation of writers, and we are writing about a different world than 40 years ago, when the really famous (Native) writers were coming on the scene. We are not always in conflict with the world anymore. We are in conflict within ourselves.”

Wetzel said today’s writers are taking on subjects like blood quantum, fractionization of land and intertribal disputes—and he said that today, there is a great need for cultural pluralism. “There are people who aren’t from the reservation and I don’t judge people on blood. I keep it open to most views. This is about art, and I don’t want to limit that.”

While Natives and non-Natives attend the events, the writings celebrate a purely Native experience. Bojan Louis, Diné, is one such writer. Louis was excited to present his work to a Native audience. For an emerging writer, he said, “It’s sort of frustrating to be in Arizona, because there are so many writers around the area. There are people who put on reading series, and often when Indians are invited, they are usually asked to come as speakers, but rarely as writers. Having such a large Indian population, we rarely get that opportunity.”

Another author agreed. “When you read in graduate school, they (the audience) are other people in your program. This was the first time that the audience was 100 percent American Indian,” Sterling HolyWhiteMountain, Blackfeet, said after his experience reading for Wetzel’s series.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/28/native-writers-and-audiences-come-together-indigenous-reading-series-152824

Reading Series Highlights Indigenous Authors, Artists

Here is the video of a short interview I did on PBS about native issues and the indigenous reading series I produce. - Bill

Stjukshon, an indigenous reading series, was implemented by Bill Wetzel to capture the attention of a variety of people.

A wide diverse of people have contributed to the series including Jody Thompson, a writer and managing editor for Cairn Press, who presented an item that was published in a literary journal out of Chicago.

Pieces include all sorts of styles that can connect to all generations of readers.

Bill Wetzel, curator of Stjukshon, hopes to have a “long running series that brings in talent from all the country.”

video at link:


Native American Special Issue of Literary Orphans

Hey everybody,

I just thought I'd let you know that I have several stories in Tallchief Issue 8 of Literary Orphans. These just came out yesterday.

Strange Bedfellows (flash fiction)

Wrong Number (Creative nonfiction)

If you want to check out the whole issue it's well worth your time. I am so glad they did a Native issue. They also have some really great work in the general section too. And any writers out there, I highly recommend submitting to them, they'll get back to you promptly. Here is the whole index: http://www.literaryorphans.org/playdb/?page_id=2656

TC Tolbert: Vena Amoris

This is my latest column, a guest column. On transgender, LGBT and violence issues. -WB

TC Tolbert: Vena Amoris

I am going to give up my writing space for a guest column by poet TC Tolbert. S/He is the Assistant Director of Tucson literary center, Casa Libre En La Solana http://casalibre.org/ where this essay originally appeared. I have the author's permission to share it in full. - Bill Wetzel

Vena Amoris

by TC Tolbert

I'm on a relatively small plane on my way to Denver. I'm in the window seat. There's no middle, just the guy in the aisle seat whose elbow keeps grazing my arm. We're both white men. He's 6'1, maybe 6'2, muscular. I'm 5'8, 150. He is not unkind. I'm bad at this sort of thing but I'd say he's in the neighborhood of 220 pounds. Right away he put the armrest down and got comfortable. He's sleeping now or trying to. Elbows outnumber armrests. We are close but we are not intimate. Presumably we are meant to negotiate the space.

A few years ago I started a trans awareness project called Made for Flight . I visit classrooms, Gay-Straight Alliances, and youth centers and talk about trans identities, violence, how to be an ally. We make a kite for each trans woman who has been murdered during the year. We walk with those kites during the All Souls Procession (and if you want to join us, we would welcome you - see below). I am constantly saying these words: Two trans women are murdered each month here in the US. A trans woman (usually a trans woman of color who is a sex worker) is murdered every other day worldwide. Does saying this change anything for trans women? What does it mean to be complicit? When Janet Mock says, Every time there's a trans woman of color in the media, she's getting killed. It wrecks our souls. To whom or to what is she pointing? Do the dead women give a goddamn about all of those kites?

It is on the plane that I realize how long it's been since I've felt willingly vulnerable. In "A Brief for the Defense," Jack Gilbert says, "We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight." I went to a performance of John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes last night because my heart is absolutely desperate for surprise.

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