Duane Niatum

Duane Niatum

Jamestown S’Klallam elder, scholar, poet to share his work

PORT ANGELES — Studium Generale will celebrate National Poetry Month on Thursday by welcoming Jamestown S’Klallam Elder Duane Niatum, a scholar, poet, editor and longtime supporter of Peninsula College.

The free event will celebrate Niatum’s new chapbook of poetry, Sea Changes, which is available in the Peninsula College bookstore, the Bookaneer.

It will begin at 12:35 p.m. Thursday in the Little Theater on the Port Angeles campus at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd. It also will be on Zoom at https://pencol-edu.zoom.us/j/83024542567. The meeting ID is 830 2454 2567.

Niatum will offer a reading, and the event will be followed by a book signing in the PUB Gallery of Art and reception in ʔaʔk̓ʷustəƞáwt̓xʷ House of Learning, PC Longhouse.

Niatum, Seattle native and lifelong resident and member of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, has been writing poems, stories and essays for more than 65 years.

As a child and youth, he studied and absorbed S’Klallam tribal ways with his maternal grandfather.

“His writing is deeply connected with the Northwest coast landscape, its mountains, forests, water and creatures,” organizers said.

“The legends and traditions of his ancestors, who have long called this place home, help shape and animate his poetry.”

He has made a lifelong study of art and artists, including European and American Indian art, literature and culture.

He has been widely published in the U.S. and abroad, and his work has been translated into at least 14 languages. He has published 10 books of poems, most recently, Earth Vowels and Sea Changes.

He earned a bachelor’s from the University of Washington, where he studied with Theodore Roethke and Elizabeth Bishop, a master’s from Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in American Culture from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Niatum’s honors include residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts and Yaddo, the Governor’s Award from the State of Washington, and grants from the Carnegie Fund for Authors and the PEN Fund for Writers.

He was four times nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from Native Writers Circle of the Americas, Returning the Gift. He has read at the U.S. Library of Congress and the International Poetry Festival at Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

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