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Arts & Justice Poetry Reading at Stanford

Earlier this month, I was honored to read poetry--and participate in a discussion--with Lakota poet Layli Long Soldier. Poet Monica Sok moderated. Long Soldier read from her groundbreaking collection Whereas, which responds to a 2009 Congressional apology to Native peoples for the numerous atrocities the U.S. committed against them but ends--characteristically and yet ironically--with a disclaimer. As Long Soldier notes, the apology was quietly signed into law, without any public acknowledgement or ceremony involving any of the nearly 600 Native Tribes within the United States. She interrogates the process and meaning of the apology, bringing to light the hypocrisy of, and the harms caused by, law's depersonalized language.

I read my poems about race, social justice, and colonialism, some of which are in my chapbook White Out, and others of which are in my full-length collection The Body's Alphabet.  I read a few uncollected poems as well. Some of the work I read explores my experiences working as an attorney for Tribes, and other pieces address racial justice and my experiences as a white person in a racially unjust world more generally.

The reading is recorded and available here. Hearing Layli Long Soldier read and discuss her work helped me think about law and the effects of colonialism in new ways. I highly recommend it!


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