#AWP18 Event Organizer Q&A with Linda Rodriguez & Participants Mary Kathryn Nagel, Denise Low, & Diane Glancy

AWP | December 2017

Event Title: Thirty Years of Influence Across Genres in Indigenous Literature: Tribute to Diane Glancy
Description: Diane Glancy has won major awards in every literary genre with fifty published novels, memoirs, edited anthologies, and collections of short fiction, essays, and poetry, twenty produced plays, and three films. In this interactive discussion, panelists from different fields of Indigenous literature will discuss Glancy’s literary legacy and the impact she’s had on the next generation of Indigenous writers and on the landscape of American literature across genres.
Location: Room 18 & 19, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Date & Time: Saturday, March 10, 12 noon–1:15 p.m.     


Q: What new understanding or knowledge will attendees walk away from your event with?
A: Linda Rodriguez: I hope attendees will take away several benefits from this event—a fuller understanding of the various kinds of discipline and effort that go into a long, successful writing career, an appreciation of Diane Glancy’s willingness to experiment with form/language/theme and take risks with her writing across genres, an understanding of the effect that the forced collision of European and Native cultures has had on modern Native literature, and an appreciation of the way in which Glancy has mentored and encouraged many younger writers, both Native and non-Native.

Mary Kathryn Nagel: We hope attendees will walk away with a deep appreciation of the contributions Diane Glancy has made, not only to Native literature, but the world of literature as well. We also hope attendees will discover that “Native stories” are not stories for Native consumption alone—but instead, they are just like every other good story, they bring forth the universal issues, challenges, and aspirations that all of humanity experiences, and that by sharing them, all of our lives are improved, as well as our relations with one another.

Denise Low: Diane Glancy’s 40-year career concerns the intersection of Indigenous American and European heritages. She is a leading voice in exploration of hybrid forms, reconciliations, lyricism, and faith.

Diane Glancy: I think I would like to see the audience come away with a thorough understanding of the long career aspect. The resolve and resilience it requires. There are clumps of time when acceptance of work and invitations to read come. Then there are those dry spells when fellowships go to others, and one has to bide one’s time. The balance of teaching and writing and other responsibilities. The careful thought to an academic career. The hard work of it. Not giving up. Knowing the development of a writing career is a long process. Often it is not fun. The guarding of one’s beliefs. Holding to one’s core. Finding one’s own directive. Being one’s own guide. Not comparing oneself to others. What rewards come from a long (and sometimes quiet) writing career. How to handle frustrations. How to handle the successful times. In general, the meaningful fabric of the writing life.

Q: What makes your event relevant and important in 2018?
A: Rodriguez: Glancy’s work never sugarcoats violence, bigotry, or dysfunction, but does focus on resilience of many kinds. In this contemporary landscape of attacks on the arts and on many of the groups to which we as individuals belong, she has lessons for us in survival and resilience. For a long time, her work has been asking the questions we never knew we would one day need to answer.

Nagel: Now in 2018, we live in a world of division and polarization. Us versus them. As Native people, we are descended from those who survived one of the deepest times of polarization in US history. As modern-day survivors of an American genocide, our stories are incredibly relevant to an America that now finds herself lost and grappling with a level of violence that—to non-Native Americans—seems unprecedented.

Low: The innovations in Diane Glancy’s works have been guideposts for many younger writes of all backgrounds. As writers develop narratives for these times, Glancy’s voice is that of a wise elder who foresaw our difficulties. Her writings have essential answers.

Q: What are some of the conference events (besides your own) or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing?
A: Rodriguez: I always look forward to visiting the New Letters/BkMk Press booth in the bookfair, as well as those of Crab Orchard Press, Tia Chucha Press, the Latino Caucus, and Letras Latinas. As for events, I never miss the Indigenous Caucus and the Latino Caucus. I’m also looking forward to That Ticking Clock: The Handling of Time in Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction with Lorraine Lopez, Cary Holladay, Gary Fincke, Charlotte Holmes, and Rich Mulkey, and A Tribute to June Jordan with Patricia Spears Jones, Javier Zamora, Evie Shockley, Patrick Rosal, Carey Salerno, among many others.

Low: Small Press Distribution’s bookfair exhibit is always a highlight, because of the quality and depth. They are a critical distributor for independent presses at a time when corporate-owned media are under commercial pressures.

Layli Long Soldier’s events—the Academy of American Poets reading with her, Mark Doty, and Khaled Mattawa, and Writing the Body in the 21st Century which also features Carmen Maria Machado, Steph Burt, Danez Smith, and Steve Woodward. I’m excited for this fine Lakota-enrolled writer who has gained national recognition for the excellence of her writing.

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: Rodriguez: Whereas by Layli Long Soldier (stunning work that I wanted to see win the National Book Award), Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings by Joy Harjo (time travel through a history of resilience), Hunger by Roxane Gay (painful but deeply moving), Buckskin Cocaine by Erika Wurth (the beautiful in the seedy), and A Small Revolution by Jimin Han (an intricately woven tapestry of suspense). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the anthology that Diane Glancy and I coedited, The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, a book of gifted poets dealing with one of the most important and intractable topics of our time.

Nagel: Nasty Women, edited by Kate Harding and Samhita Mukhopadhyayand My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem.

Low: Stanley Lombardo’s translation of Dante’s Paradiso. It completes his Inferno and Purgatorio trilogy, along with his Sappho, Homer, and Virgil translations—a grand slam for translators. Paradiso has so many images of hope, and I have Dante’s descriptions of cosmic goodness this year of challenges.

Glancy: Milk Black Carbon by Joan Naviyuk Kane and Whereas by Layli Long Soldier.

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