Everywhere Is [Beautifully] Dreamed in the Poetry of Sherwin Bitsui: A Critical Found Response
November 4, 2021
This essay is part of a series in which Seattle Arts & Lectures partners with Poetry Northwest to present reflections on visiting writers from the SAL Poetry Series. On Friday, November 5, Sherwin Bitsui and Kenzie Allen will read and discuss their work with Jennifer Ellis Foerster as part of the James Welch Prize reading. This event is available to attend online until November 12 at 7:30 p.m. (PT)—get your tickets here!
By Natalie A. Martínez
The sibilant is a tautology that gains its imagine. I drive it, drive it into the middle of. Poem. A. Lake. a Lake. a Lake.
Shifting. Sliding. Soothing songbirds. Spilling. Slicing. Scarring. Sistering. Bitsui, moves the language into a new grammar.
Metaphor muzzles even the quietest of desert footsteps. Underneath is an entire realm of sawtooth poetics that some have mistaken for the dead, and deserted. Or fossilized. Dissolve moves, weaves indigeneity outside of the white-imagination. Between two languages. Navajo (Diné) and English. Into another nowhere that is belted from neon surprise. Substitution that creates, rather than ensures erasure. Or if it does erase, erasure, raises back the aspirant,
Where? What? Simultaneously locatable/unlocatable Nowheres.