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Word S10.5 – Possibilities with Harper St. Clair, Diné poetry from Amber McCrary and Kinsale Drake

On this episode, we take a heady journey into the art of the possible and explore Indigenous literature with two Diné women writers.  

Guest list

Dine’ poet and returning guest  Amber McCrary joined us in April 2021 as part of National Poetry Month.

She read her poem titled, “Grass God” from her collection, “Electric Desert,” published the year prior and she reads the poem again on this episode.

Since then, McCrary moved from the East Valley to northern Arizona where she’s been co-leading free literary workshops.

The next is Diné Bikéyah, Bee Hózhó (From Beauty is the Land) on Nov. 18 from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at Flagstaff Public Library.

She’s also working on a new collection of her own poems as well as imprints from Abalone Mountain Press which she founded.

According to her author bio, McCrary is "a Diné poet, zinester, feminist and artist. She is Red House born for Mexican people. Originally from Shonto, Arizona and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona. She earned her BA from Arizona State University in Political Science with a minor in American Indian Studies. She received her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry at Mills College. She is also the creator of DANG! Zine (Daydreaming, Awkward, Native, Girl) Vol. 1 and Vol.2, Angsty Asdzáá: Tales of an angry Indigenous woman zine and The Asdzáá Beat. She released a chapbook titled, Electric Deserts! (Tolsun Books). McCrary is the owner and founder of Abalone Mountain Press, a press dedicated to publishing Indigenous voices. She is a board member of the Northern Arizona Book Festival, the AZ Humanities 2022 Rising Star of the year and a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation LIFT awardee."

You can find her poems, interviews and art at Yellow Medicine Review, POETRY Magazine, Room Magazine, Poets and Writers Magazine, The Navajo Times, Santa Fe Literary Review and forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review.

Harper St. Clair lives in Arizona and has a heady new novel called “Itch: The Art of Possibility.”The book deals with “uncovering the unexpected, when a new series of metaphysical challenges comes into view,” according to her author website.

“I hope this book stirs you in the most unpredictable ways. And may it also serve to remind you that in case you've also too willingly dismissed or forfeited that magical something - whatever it is that's been persistently calling out to you — the time to step up and go for it is now ... Because this uncharted journey, comprised of both art and magic holds your secret transformative power,” she wrote on her author website.

Earlier this month, Diné poet and author Kinsale Drake moderated a panel with three other Indigenous authors for AZ Humanities. She has a forthcoming collection of poems in 2024.

According to her author bio, Drake is “a poet/editor/playwright whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Best New Poets, Poets.org, Poetry Northwest, The Slowdown, Black Warrior Review, Teen Vogue, MTV, Nylon, TIME and NPR.”

Her first book, "The Sky Was Once A Dark Blanket" (University of Georgia Press, 2024), won the 2023 National Poetry Series and is due out in 2024. Drake teaches mental health and storytelling programming for Native youth and is the founder of Changing Wxman Collective & NDN Girls Book Club. She graduated from Yale University in fall 2022.”

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We’d like to congratulate Nadia Mirza who won our literary costume contest.

Mirza dressed up as Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” and her mom, Kathleen, said her daughter was inspired, “to create her own costume, picking out all the materials, making the shirt and patterned her costume after the book, not the movie.”

We’re back with another episode, Nov. 28, 2023.

Find our shows on multiple platforms including the NPR pod feed and now, YouTube.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.