Renowned Navajo Poet Sherwin Bitsui to Speak at Cal State San Bernardino


By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley) – Cal State San Bernardino’s department of English will host a reading by renowned Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui on Monday, Nov. 24, at 6 p.m. in the John M. Pfau Library room 4005.

Bitsui will read from his two award-winning books, “Shapeshift” and “Flood Song,” as part of the English department’s Pacific Review Reading Series.

Bitsui grew up on the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Ariz. He is one of the leading voices of the new generation of Native American writers.  His powerful reading style has been described as “mesmerizing,” “song,” “incantation” and “prayer.” Steeped in Native American culture, mythology, and history, Bitsui’s poems explore the tensions and intersections between Native American and contemporary urban culture.

Bitsui’s poems are imagistic, surreal and rich with details of the landscape of the Southwest. His most recent book, “Flood Song,” explores the traditions of Native American writing through postmodern fragment and stream of consciousness.

Performing with Bitsui will be graduate students from San Diego State University, where he serves as a visiting professor this year.

Bitsui received an A.F.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts creative writing program. He has been honored with the prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award, a grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, a Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and an N.A.C.F. Artist Fellowship in Literature.  Since 2013, he has served on the faculty of the Institute of American Indian Arts in the Low Residency M.F.A. in creative writing program. He has served as visiting writer at the University of Montana, as well.

The CSUSB English Department’s Pacific Review Reading Series is hosted by student editors of “The Pacific Review,” the department’s literary journal.  The series has brought significant authors to the San Bernardino community, including Jerome Rothenberg, Sandra Cisneros, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Susan Straight, David St. John, Gillian Conoley, Naomi Hirahara, Ron Arias, Anna Journey, Wanda Coleman and Matt Hart.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking is $5.  For more information contact Pacific Review faculty director Chad Sweeney at (909) 537-5843 or

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit

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