Pulitzer-prize winner Natalie Diaz to give virtual reading

Spring Visiting Writers Series features multiple Indigenous writers; six events scheduled

The+Visiting+Writers+Series+is+returning+next+week%2C+starting+with+a+virtual+event+with+poet+Natalie+Diaz.

COURTESY OF CAMERON MCGILL

The Visiting Writers Series is returning next week, starting with a virtual event with poet Natalie Diaz.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter, columnist, copy editor

On Feb. 9, Pulitzer-prize-winning poet Natalie Diaz will be giving a virtual poetry reading and lecture for the first Visiting Writers Series event of 2022.

WSU’s Department of English and the Common Reading Program are partnering together to host the event. Cameron McGill, Visiting Writers Series co-director, said for several decades, the program has brought in poets and writers for creative readings, class visits and workshops. 

The series brings in multiple authors throughout the year, McGill said. Every semester, the English department takes suggestions from students and faculty on who to bring in for the series. 

The Visiting Writers Series is a collaboration between the Vancouver and Pullman campuses of WSU and is open to the public, McGill said. Diaz’s reading will start at 6 p.m. and will be live-streamed on YouTube.

Diaz just won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for her second book titled “Postcolonial Love Poem.” McGill said Diaz is one of the most compelling poets today. 

Julian Ankney, Visiting Writers Series co-director, said Diaz will be reading from the poetry book that just won the Pulitzer Prize.

Ankney is excited to hear from Diaz, as she enjoyed every single one of the poems in “Postcolonial Love Poem.”

“When you read her poetry, you can really feel it in your body. It affects you as a person,” she said. “I think when you read good poetry, you should have some kind of bodily reaction to it. Her poetry is almost like magic.”

McGill said the Visiting Writers team is excited to have Diaz come to speak, as well as the other authors lined up for virtual readings this spring.

Nez Perce writer Beth Piatote will speak on March 3, followed by poet and installation artist Storme Webber on March 23. On March 20, author and editor Michelle Nijhuis will host a virtual reading of her recent book, “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction.” Inés Hernández-Avila, poet and co-founder of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, will speak on April 6, and the Spring series comes to a close on April 20 with writer and musician Naomi Littlebear Morena. 

“Our level of female-identified Native writers this spring semester is very encouraging,” McGill said.

Ankney said this semester’s series is personal for her because of her Indigenous background, and she is glad there are multiple Indigenous authors coming to speak. 

McGill said that a lot of the time, students are reading the work of the authors in the Visiting Writers Series. 

“This is a real opportunity for them to directly get to ask the author a question,” he said. “We want as many students to have access to that as possible.”

The link to the YouTube live can be found on the Visiting Writers website, along with information on the rest of the events in the series.