Luci Tapahonso—the poet you need to know

This blog post is from the Many Nations Team. The publication of this post coincides with Indigenous Peoples Month (November), but is relevant all year long as we continue to celebrate Indigenous cultures, voices, and experiences.

Meet Luci Tapahonso
Navajo Nation Poet Laureate, 2013

In 2013, Luci Tapahonso was named the Inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation. She is the author of three children’s books and six books of poetry, including A Radiant Curve, which was awarded the Arizona Book Award for Poetry in 2009.

Her work has appeared in many print and media productions in the U.S. and internationally. Her poems have been translated into German, Italian and French. She was featured in Rhino Records’ CDs, “In Their Own Voices: A Century of American Poetry” and “Poetry on Record: 98 American Poets Read Their Work” and in several PBS films. 

Tapahonso received the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas and a Spirit of the Eagle Leadership Award for her key role in establishing the Indigenous Studies Graduate Studies Program at the University of Kansas. The Native Writers' Circle of the Americas named Tapahonso the 1999 Storyteller of the Year. She has also received a Kansas Governor’s Art Award, and Distinguished Woman awards from the National Association of Women in Education and the Girl Scout Council of America. She was honored as Grand Marshal for the Northern Navajo Fair Parade (1991, 1999) in her hometown of Shiprock, New Mexico.

Seasonal Woman

A Breeze Swept Through

Saanii Dahataal, the Women Are Singing

Navajo ABC

Blue Horses Rush in

Songs of Shiprock Fair

The Beginning Was Mist

A Radiant Curve

Want more?

Listen to Luci read "That American Flag," which she says, "Was the first of two poems to commemorate the Navajo Long Walk."

You can also find various recordings on YouTube.