The Poets Among Us: Sherman Alexie

The Poets Among Us: Sherman Alexie

Past Event: Monday, February 2, 1998

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Like any young writer who makes a striking entrance onto the literary scene, Sherman Alexie has drawn comparisons. He is the Jack Kerouac of reservation life for his chronicling of points high and low of contemporary Indian life—the despair, the self-destructiveness, the snares of the system, the simple pleasures of basketball, and dancing.

Born in 1966, Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian who grew up in Wellpinit, a small town on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Alexie devoured books throughout his youth, developed a fiercely competitive style in the classroom, and had his nose broken five times for being the smart kid. After two years at Gonzaga University, Alexie transferred to Washington State University where he graduated in 1991. He was still a student at WSU when his first manuscript of poetry, I Would Steal Horses (1992), was accepted for publication. “I have a very specific commitment to Indian people,” said Alexie, “and I’m very tribal in that sense. I want us to survive as Indians.”

Selected Work
The Toughest Indian in the World (2000)
Indian Killer (1996)
Reservation Blues (1995)
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993)
The Business of Fancydancing (1992)

Links
Alexie’s official web site