“Tapahonso’s newest poetry collection, A Radiant Curve, confirms her place near the top of any list in American literature.” –Studies in American Indian Literatures
“Tapahonso celebrates the everyday acts, rituals, and stories that draw people together across the years and across the distances of cultural dispersion.” –Library Journal
In this sixth collection of stories and verse, award-winning writer Luci Tapahonso finds sacredness in everyday life. Viewing a sunset in a desert sky, listening to her granddaughter recount how she spent her day, or visiting her mother after her father’s passing, she finds traces of her own memories, along with echoes of the voices of her Navajo ancestors. The collection also includes an audio CD of the author reading aloud and her voice is warm and inviting, like the “simmering soup and blue corn meal” of her childhood. These engaging words draw us into a workaday world that, magically but never surprisingly, has room for the Diyin Dine’é (the Holy People), Old Salt Woman, and Dawn Boy. When she describes her grandson’s First Laugh Ceremony—explaining that it was originally performed for White Shell Girl, who grew up to be Changing Woman—her account enriches us and we long to hear more. Tapahonso weaves the Navajo language into her work like she weaves “the first four rows of black yarn” into a rug she is making “for my little grandson, who inherited my father’s name: Hastiin Tsétah Naaki Bísóí.” As readers, we find that we too are surrounded by silent comfort, held lovingly in the confident hands of an accomplished writer who has a great deal to tell us about life.
Luci Tapahonso (Diné (Navajo)) is Professor Emerita of English Literature at the University of New Mexico and served as the inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation. She is a recipient of a 2018 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Artist Fellowship. She is the author of three children’s books and six books of poetry including A Radiant Curve. She served as a judge for Poetry Out Loud, the New Mexico High School Poetry Competition, and was selected as “2016 Best of the City—Our City and State’s Prolific Authors,” by Albuquerque the Magazine. Professor Tapahonso has delivered keynote addresses at several conferences and institutions including Harvard University, Gallup Central High School, Kenyon College, Institute of American Indian Arts, the Tbisili International Literature Festival in the Republic of Georgia, and “Creativity Week” at the University of New Zealand at Auckland and Wellington. She recently completed a script for an exhibition called “Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art” for the American Heritage Gallery at Walt Disney World’s Epcot and is completing the manuscript for her next book. Tapahonso lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, Dr. Robert Martin, who is president of the Institute of American Indian Arts.