Writing On Turtle Island:
The Poetry of Native America
Poem-Making With Jim Moreno
November 19, 2017, 1:00 P.M. To 4:00 P.M.
San Diego Writers, Ink, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd., #202, San Diego,
Register by clicking on the following link:
How can we describe Native American poetry, nee Indigenous verse? Harper's
Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry calls it the poetry of “historic
witness”. For the purposes of this class we can go deeper into the oral tradition of any indigenous people and say that
a written poem resonates with the consciousness, if not the lives, of the ancestors. We could also say that a Native American
phrase, sentence, saying, or theme was most likely spoken by predecessors who lived hundreds to thousands of years ago.
Native American poet is continuing a consciousness, if not a way of speaking and living, that originated not only long before
the Europeans arrived, but from a way of being on Mother Earth that originated with the first storytellers who painted the
hunt, the song, or the origin of the People on the wall of a cave, on a rock, or on the side of a mountain. Storytellers
also honed the oral tradition in song, creation stories, and other initial forms of memoir or witnessing to record in memory
the ethos of the culture, tribe, era, or community.
When Joy Harjo (Muscogee) writes: “She had some horses who thought they were the sun and their bodies shown and burned like
stars”, it is not only about showing personification, imagery, and simile. It is a tapping into an ancient wisdom,
consciously or unconsciously, that allows the transformative power of the art to be amplified in the reader and the writer.
If you aren't inspired by what you are writing, why should the reader be?
When M. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) writes
in House of Dawn: “Coyotes have the
gift of seldom being seen; they keep to the edge of vision and beyond...,They are an old council of clowns, and they are listened
to.”, you are reading a teaching as old as the first camp fire or shaped arrowhead; maybe more.
Join Jim Moreno (Chumash) for this class which resonates with November's
National Native American Heritage Month and is in solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. And, staying in
character for Moreno, can a Mary Oliver poem resonate with Joy Harjo's verse? Can a William Stafford poem resonate with a
Jimmy Santiago Baca (Apache) poem? Two cultures, one heart. Join Jim for this spirited class and see. For beginning or
Jim Moreno was adopted into the
Barbareno Chumash Tribe by the Moreno family (Noni, John, Sue, Pat, and Georgi) in 1995. His mother who adopted him mostly
had a guitar in her hands and was a joyful singer. Noni was of Tohono O'dham, Pima, Mexican, and Irish ancestry. His brother
John, whom he met at a Bear Dance on Pala Reservation, is a singer, painter, storyteller and linguist bringing back the Smuwich
language, the tongue of the Chumash.
Jim is a teaching artist with San Diego Writers, Ink and on the Program Committee. He also
teaches poetry at Arts 4 Learning where he was voted the Residency Teaching Artist of the Year for 2016-2017. Moreno is on
the Advisory Board of the Poetic Medicine Institute in Palo Alto California and a Regional Editor of the San Diego Poetry
Annual. Jim is generating poems for the annual in the adult, Native American, and Juvenile Hall sections. Contact him at