News for Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cherokee Poet, Santee Frazier, Writer-in-Residence at SAR

Santee FrazierSantee FrazierCourtesy Santee Frazier.Santee FrazierCourtesy Santee Frazier.

The School for Advanced Research (SAR) is pleased to welcome Santee Frazier as the 2011 Indigenous Writer-in-Residence. This appointment is the result of an historic partnership between SAR and the Lannan Foundation, two of Santa Fe’s most renowned centers for the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

The author of Dark Thirty (University of Arizona Press, 2009), a collection of loosely autobiographical poems journeying through Cherokee Country, Santee’s work falls into documentary poetic tradition. He deals with historical narratives, cultural artifacts, and colloquial language to engage indigenous sensibilities. Santee also recreates Indigenous/Cherokee thinking through the English language to create a new poetic experience. According to him: “Cherokee is my first language, and though I am no longer fluent, it has dramatically effected how I hear and think in English…The intent of the poems is to reclaim a culturally specific voice, while rendering the art and technology of another.”

Santee’s project while writer-in-residence will be the nucleus of his second book. Research through books and oral Cherokee narratives has led him to the historical figure Sequoyah, inventor of the Syllabary. In a time when the Cherokee people were becoming factionalized, Sequoyah wanted to unify his people through the written word. In a series of poems, Frazier plans to chronicle Sequoyah’s life prior to the Trail of Tears and creation of the Syllabary to his eventual death in Mexico. During the months of January and February, Santee will reside at the King Residence and work in the Dubin Studio, both on the SAR campus.

Mr. Frazier is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Syracuse University. He is web editor of the Salt Hill Journal. Santee is the recipient of various awards including The Truman Capote Scholarship in 2001, Syracuse University Fellowship from 2006-2009, and a Lannan Residency Fellowship in 2009. His work has appeared in American Poet, Narrative Magazine, Ontario Review, and other literary journals.

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