I woke up bright and early the next morning to attend the 8:00 am panel “Poetry.” And who sat next to me: the one and only Chad Allen (who teaches at The Ohio State U). Chad is someone I admire very much, and his scholarship has inspired me for many years. Always an honor to be in his presence.
The first panelist was a scholar of indigenous literature from Taiwan, Hsinya Huang (who teaches at National Sun Yat-sen U, Taiwan). Her essay, “Indigenous Poetics of Home/Place in Native American and Taiwanese Indigenous Works,” took a thematic look at how native american and taiwanese poets write between home and diaspora.
The second scholar, Patricia Killelea, presented “Between These Songs: Sherwin Bitsui’s Decolonizing Poetics in Floodsong,” looking at how Bitsui’s work embodies a Dine aesthetics of hozho. Patricia is also a poet and she read from her new book, Other Suns, at the literary potlatch.
[pic: Tiffany Salter’s Slide]
The final presenter was Tiffany Salter, a Phd scholar from The Ohio State U. Her paper was titled: “Paratextual Glossing: Glossing as Form in the poetry of Craig Santos Perez.” Although I’ve been to many academic conferences, I never thought I would ever be at one where a scholar would be discussing my own work! Surreal. Tiffany’s reading of my work was so sophisticated that I found myself taking notes just to keep up with her thoughts! I found this humorous since I am pretty familiar with my own work. Her theories on glossing and paratextuality were rather genius–I won’t go too much into detail since it’s going to be a chapter of her dissertation, but there’s no doubt she will be an important scholar of Pacific literature for many years to come.
After the talk, I had the chance to chat with Tiffany and I gifted her with a new Pacific publication that I will announce later this week. She was very friendly and I look forward to our future conversations.
Before moving on to the next panel, I want to shout out to Chamorro scholar Tiara Naputi, who is in the Phd of Communication Studies at the U of Texas, Austin. We corresponded a bit before the conference so it was great to meet her for the first time. Exciting to hear about the work she is doing linking indigenous studies and communication studies.
[pic: Noenoe Silva presenting]
For the next session, I attended “Native Language, Native Land: Ancestral Knowledge and the Power of Place.” The first paper was given by Noenoe K. Silva (who teaches at U of Hawaii at Manoa) and was titled “Recovering Place Names Through Hawaiian Language Literature.” She talked about a mo’olelo of Pele and Hi’iaka and how it teaches us about Hawaiians love of the land and the belief that the land is alive.
Then I had to skip out of that panel to go see another Chamorro scholar, Sheryl Day, who attends The Information School at the U of Washington. The panel was called, “Information: A Critical Analytic for Indigenous Scholars.” Sheryl gave a moving talk about the possibilities and politics of information technologies and indigenous language preservation/restoration.
[pic: Sheryl Day presenting]
Unfortunately, this was the last panel I would be able to attend as I had to head back to the Bay Area. There was still another set of panels, a dinner reception, and another performance. Additionally, there was another full day of panels on Saturday. I wish I couldve attended the full conference, and I wish I had been able to meet up with more friends. Besides running into Qwo-Li Driscoll (Texas A&M) on my way out, I don’t think I ran into anyone else. If you are interested in checking out the full program of NAISA, go here.
Before I left, I had to take a walk through the book fair. Yes, an entire bookfair dedicated to the major publishers of indigenous literature and scholarship. Reminded me why I got into publishing in the first place: to help contribute to this great conversation, to give marginalized voices another life in print.
A final highlight: meeting for the first time with Kristen Buckles, the Acquiring editor at the U of Arizona Press. I have huge huge news about the U of A Press, but I can’t announce it at the moment. But meeting with Kristen was definitely the best way that my experience at NAISA this year could’ve ended. Such a beautiful spirit.
A final, very special thanks to Beth Piatote.
Hope to see some of you next year at NAISA, which will be in New England. Link below to see how to submit to next year’s conference: