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Poetry in Translation at Northwest Film Forum
April 10, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Poetry in Translation reading series showcases the literary traditions of Seattle’s immigrant and Native communities by sharing these groups’ poetry and song in their original languages and in their equivalent English translation. This quarterly series aims to inspire and broaden the city’s literary scene. It is a celebration of the poetries, literary traditions and cultural contributions these communities make toward Seattle’s quality of life.
This episode will feature readings by indigenous poets alongside a screening of “Water is Life” by Tracy Rector, a monochrome tone poem in Duwamish language from the people of Chief Sealth.
Poet, fiction writer, playwright, and editor Duane Niatum has been has been writing poems, stories and essays for over 50 years. Born Duane McGinniss in Seattle, he adopted the name of one of his S’Klallam tribal ancestors early in his career as a poet. As a child and youth, he studied S’Klallam tribal ways with his maternal grandfather. At age 17, Niatum joined the Navy and was stationed in Japan. He earned a BA from the University of Washington, where he studied with Theodore Roethke and Elizabeth Bishop, an MA from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in American culture from the University of Michigan.
Niatum’s writing is deeply connected with the Northwest coast landscape, its mountains, forests, water and creatures. The legends and traditions of his ancestors help shape and animate his poetry. He has published numerous collections of poetry, including Ascending Red Moon Cedar (1974); Song for the Harvester of Dreams (1980), which won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award; and Drawings of the Song Animals: New and Selected Poems (1991). His more current books of poetry are The Crooked Beak of Love (2000), The Pull of the Green Kite (2011), Agate Songs on the Path of Red Cedar (2011) and Earth Vowels (2017).
fabian romero (Purepécha) is a two spirit poet, filmmaker, artist and P.h.D. student in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. fabian’s academic and artistic interests integrate settler colonialism, Performance Studies, racial capitalism with storytelling and poetry. Their work centers Purépecha people from Michoacán, Mexico to Seattle, Washington and beyond.
Sasha LaPointe (Tacoma) is from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian Tribe. Native to the Pacific Northwest, she draws inspiration from her coastal heritage as well as from her life in Seattle. She writes with a focus on trauma and resilience, ranging topics from PTSD, sexual violence, the work her great grandmother did for the Coast Salish language revitalization, to loud basement punk shows and what it means to grow up mixed heritage. She has completed a memoir in which she explores the aftermath of sexual assault, first love, and drawing strength from her lineage. Her work has appeared in Hunger Mountain, The Rumpus Literary Journal, Indian Country Today, Luna Luna Magazine, The Yellow Medicine Review, The Portland Review, AS/Us Journal, THE Magazine, and Aborted Society Online Zine. She has recently graduated with an MFA through The Institute of American Indian Arts with a focus on creative nonfiction and poetry.
Sasha received 2018 GAP Award funding for her new memoir, RED PAINT, to research the lives of her Coast Salish ancestors, unearthing their stories in order to give them voice through her research and writing.