Inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation
Luci Tapahonso is professor emerita of English Literature (University of New Mexico 2016) and served as the inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation (2013-2015).
She is the author of three children’s books and six books of poetry including A Radiant Curve which received the 2008 Arizona Book Award for poetry.
Recent literary recognitions include the 2021 Ostana (Italy) Prize: an international award which honors authors who write in their mother tongue, and the delivery of the keynote address at the 5th Annual Taos (N.M.) Writers Conference. Tapahonso will also receive the 2021 Distinguished Literary Achievement Award by the Western Literature Association at its 2022 conference. In 2020, she was an Artist-in-Their-Residence Fellow hosted by the Bosque Redondo Fort Sumner Memorial Museum and recorded a poem for Living Nations, Living Words: A Map of First Peoples Poetry for the U.S. Library of Congress. Her poems published in When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through (2020, A Norton Anthology) and The Dine Reader (2020, University of Arizona Press). Tapahonso’s poems were also featured on “The Slow Down with Tracy K. Smith” (Episode #263, 2019. American Public Media and Poetry Foundation) and “Poem-a-Day,” (August 2020, Academy of American Poets). She wrote the script for the exhibition “Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art” for the American Heritage Gallery at Walt Disney World's Epcot in Florida.
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 at the University of New Zealand at Auckland and Wellington.