Layli Long Soldier was a visiting scholar at the Radcliffe Institute this past spring. During her time at the Institute, she gave a reading from her book WHEREAS (Graywolf Press, 2017), which won the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. Long Soldier was introduced by Nick Estes, a fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University and a cofounder of the Red Nation, a Native-led political organization committed to revitalizing indigenous kinship and combating anti-indigenous violence in all its manifestations.
This event was part of the Roosevelt Poetry Readings at the Radcliffe Institute and was cosponsored by the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP). The Roosevelt Poetry Readings are made possible by a donation to help bring poets of recognized stature to the Institute. Long Soldier lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Vaporative (an excerpt)
When I want to write seriously I think of people like
dg for whom I wrote a long poem for whom I revised
until the poem forgot its way back troubled I let it go when
you love something let it go if it returns be a good mother
father welcome the poem open armed pull out the frying
pan grease it coat it prepare a meal
apron and kitchen sweat labor
my love my sleeves pushed
to elbows like the old days a sack
of ﬂour and keys I push them
typography and hotcakes work
seduce a poem into believing
I can home it I can provide it
white gravy whatever the craving
poem rest here full don’t
lift a single l
COPYRIGHT © 2017 BY LAYLI LONG SOLDIER. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE PERMISSIONS COMPANY, INC. ON BEHALF OF GRAYWOLF PRESS, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA.