MISSOULA – Poets Sherwin Bitsui and Melissa Kwasny – who have been teaching UM students this semester – will read poetry together at 7 p.m. Friday, April 7, in the Dell Brown Room of Turner Hall. The event, which is hosted by the UM Creative Writing Program, is free and open to the public.
Bitsui is the author of “Flood Song” and “Shapeshift.” He is Diné of the Bįį’bítóó’nii’ Tódi’chii’nii clan and is born for the Tlizilłani’ clan. He is from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. His honors include the 2011 Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellowship for Literature, a PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award and a Whiting Writers Award.
Kwasny is the author of five collections of poetry, including “Reading Novalis in Montana,” which was named one of the top 10 books of 2009 by The Huffington Post. Her collection “Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision” was published by Lynx House in 2013. She is also the editor of “Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800-1950” and co-editor, with M.L. Smoker, of “I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poets in Defense of Global Human Rights.” She lives in the Elkhorn Mountains in southwestern Montana.
“It’s been a blessing for UM to have renowned poets Sherwin Bitsui and Melissa Kwasny in the Creative Writing Program this year,” said Karin Schalm, UM Creative Writing Program coordinator. “Sherwin is teaching a workshop and an ecopoetics course. Melissa is teaching prosody, the study of poetic forms. I’ve heard from many of our students that they love working with each of these gifted teachers and artistic mentors.”