IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Award-Winninng Poet Joan Kane To Read at IAIA

Santa Fe, NM | Apr 18, 2012 –

Whiting Award winning poet Joan Kane will read at the Institute of American Indian Arts at 7 pm, Thursday, April 26, in the CLE Common Room.


How rapidly the tide turned, turns.
Still, turning now, gray wash and silt
Pivots on a finger of foam.

One could count time in its long
Trough, or lose it altogether:

Winter may thicken the air
Earlier than expected. Or,

An inflection in the shadow
Of the long crest is an increment,
And a small variation.

With it, we are joined, and continue.
A sharp-shinned hawk now wheels

Overhead, as each spring tends,
And shows its white underbelly.


Joan Kane is Inupiaq Eskimo, with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and her M.F.A. from Columbia University. Kane received the John Haines Award from Ice Floe Press in 2004, was a semi-finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award in 2006, and received a 2007 individual artist award from the Rasmuson Foundation. In 2009 her play, “The Gilded Tusk,” won the Anchorage Musuem theater contest and she was selected as a finalist for the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Fellowship. She is a 2009 recipient of the Connie Boochever Fellowship from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, a National Native Creative Development Program recipient, and a Whiting Writers’ Award winner. In 2010 she was selected as the recipient of the Alaska Native Writers on the Environment Award by the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Along with her husband and sons, she lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

“The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife is a groundbreaking collection of poems made of one long breath. The breath is enough to carry you the distance it takes to fly to the moon and return in one long winter night. I have been looking for the return of such a poet. Joan Kane crafts poems as meticulous as snowflakes. She is visionary and the poems carry this vision with solid grace.” Joy Harjo

“These poems are original, unsentimental, plain, and mysterious. There is something of Lorine Niedecker’s Wisconsin, and something of Willa Cather’s Nebraska or New Mexico in Joan Kane’s Alaska. And something more, “on the border of speech,” which yet gives us a new sense — or maybe retrieves an old sense– of experience. Sometimes, in these poems, description, and what we cannot quite find words for, underneath it, are enough; in fact, more than we would have known how to ask for: a lost people — a shaman’s voice — the voice of a glacier — of a shell? “In a room in which you’re found at every margin / Forgetting you is nothing but a long discipline.” Jean Valentine

“These poems are much more than verbal constructs, though their language alone is enough to keep you reading. Joan Kane’s mind spends much time with itself; her eye sees itself as part of the landscape, which in this collection is meticulously rendered, “a bewilderment of white.” She does not find metaphors for life in the wilderness, but rather observes patterns of nature that life bears out. Hers is a voice without cultural or self-reference, a voice without verbal-technics — as rare and stark as the main climatic idiosyncrasy of these poems, ‘a year of two winters.’” Priscilla Becker

Contact Information

call Jon Davis at 505.310.0936 or e-mail jdavissimo@comcast.net