IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

James Thomas Stevens

Photo credit: Akwiratékha Martin

James Thomas Stevens is the Chair of the Creative Writing Program.  He was born in Niagara Falls, New York.  A member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation in upstate New York, Stevens grew up between three reservations, the two where his grandparents came from, Akwesasne Territory and Six Nations Reserve, and the one where they settled, the Tuscarora Nation. Stevens briefly attended the School of Visual Arts and Brooklyn College before receiving his AFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Arts.  Stevens later went on to receive a full fellowship to Brown University and received his M.F.A. in 1993.

Since receiving his degrees, he has taught at Haskell Indian Nations University, and State University of New York at Fredonia.


James earned an A.F.A. in Creative Writing from IAIA and an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University.

Major Professional Activities

Stevens has published seven books of poetry, including Combing the Snakes from His Hair, for which he was awarded a 2000 Whiting Writer’s Award, A Bridge Dead in the Water, which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series Award, Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations with Caroline Sinavaiana, Bulle/Chimere and Tokinish.

Selected Publications

His poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies including First Intensity Magazine; Blue Mesa Review; Mandorla; 1913; Notre Dame Review; The Cafe Review; Bombay Gin, and Yellow Medicine Review among others.

In addition to poetry, he writes personal and critical essays, and has been anthologized in works such as, Genocide of the Mind; Visit Teepee Town; Eating Fire, Tasting Blood; and Sovereign Bones.

Teaching Statement

“I believe strongly that language carries culture. The way we tell our stories, the way we discuss, the way we write, is in part, our ancestor’s writing through us. I believe in a strong critical base and knowledge of the different theories or lenses through which others see, and in drawing on the strength of our Native cultures.”


James Thomas Stevens
Creative Writing Faculty Core Faculty
Work Phone: 505.424.2377
Categories: Uncategorized
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