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2024 MFACW January Evening Reading Series: dg okpik, Kelli Jo Ford, and Jennifer Foerster

Tue, January 9, 6:30 pm7:30 pm

Join the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) from Monday, January 8 through Friday, January 12, 2024, as the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFACW) program presents an Evening Reading Series featuring program mentors and special guests. Each evening will engage its audience with poetry, memoir, or fiction from some of today’s most vibrant and vital writers.

Evening Reading Series Events



Jennifer Elise Foerster (Muscogee [Creek] Nation of Oklahoma) is a mentor in the MFACW program and the author of three books of poetry, The Maybe Bird (The Song Cave 2022), Bright Raft in the Afterweather (University of Arizona Press 2018) and Leaving Tulsa (University of Arizona Press 2013) and served as the Associate Editor of When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (W.W. Norton 2020). She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University and holds a PhD in Literary Arts from the University of Denver. She serves as Joy Harjo’s literary assistant and works in non-profit administration for various arts and literary organizations. Foerster grew up living internationally, is of European and Mvskoke descent, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma. She lives in San Francisco.

Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) is a novelist, short story writer, and mentor in the MFACW program. She is the author of the novel-in-stories Crooked Hallelujah. Her work has been published in The Paris ReviewVirginia Quarterly ReviewMcSweeney’s Quarterly, and The Missouri Review. She has received many awards, including an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize, and a Native Arts & Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship.

dg nanouk okpik (Iñupiaq-Inuit) is a poet from south-central Alaska. Her debut collection of poetry, Corpse Whale (2012), received the American Book Award (2013). Since then, her work has been published in several anthologies, including New Poets of Native Nations (2018) and the forthcoming Infinite Constellations: An Anthology of Identity, Culture, and Speculative Conjunctions (2023). With her new collection Blood Snow, published in 2022 by Wave Books, okpik established herself as a poet of both great achievement and great promise, a cartographer of wildernesses without and within. Former United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo has described okpik’s work as “at once surprising and prophetic, ceremonial and disruptive.” Her poetry opens readers to a complex web of culture, ecology, and myth. In Blood Snow, okpik’s vision, while idiosyncratic and particular, is always also communal. No narwhal, no flower, no spore, no sunrise, no mosquito—not even a tooth emerging from the gum of a baby marmot—goes unnoticed. All these beings and objects are, she writes, “sung from my throat from a deep / place inside me.” okpik’s poetry offers the reader a way of thinking about our world that returns us to its gifts, its magic, and its sustaining beauty.

MFA in Creative Writing

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is designed as a two-year program with two intensive week-long residencies per year (summer and winter) at IAIA. Students and faculty mentors gather for a week of workshops, lectures, and readings. At the end of the residency week, each student is matched with a faculty mentor, who then works one-on-one with the student for the semester. IAIA’s program is unique in that we emphasize the importance of Indigenous writers speaking to the Indigenous experience. The literature we read carries a distinct Native American and First Nations emphasis. The MAFCW offers four areas of emphasis: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting.

The deadline to apply for the 2024 academic year is Feb. 1 by 5 pm (MST).


Tue, January 9
6:30 pm–7:30 pm
Event Category:


Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) CLE Commons
83 Avan Nu Po Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508 United States


Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)