Native VoicesGAMBIER, Ohio (October 4, 2010) A trio of Kenyon faculty members is giving voice to an overlooked group of contemporary writers in a series of books that has been hailed as "the most interesting project in American poetry" (San Francisco Chronicle). The series, called Earthworks, features collections by Native American and Latin American poets. The editors: Janet McAdams of Kenyon's English Department, along with Spanish professors Katherine Hedeen and Victor L. Rodríguez-Núñez.
The highly regarded literary press Salt Publishing in England has published nineteen titles in the series, with three more scheduled for release this year, making Earthworks the largest contemporary ethnic American poetry series in the world. "I am stunned about what has happened with the series-glowing reviews, awards, and international acclaim," McAdams said.
McAdams founded Earthworks at Kenyon in 2005 as a Native American writing series, winning the 2006 Publisher of the Year Award from the Woodcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers. The scope of the series later was expanded to include Latin American poetry translated and edited by Hedeen and Rodríguez-Núñez.
"It was a great idea to bring the two together because there is a very strong relationship between Native American poets and Latin American poets," said Rodríguez-Núñez, an award-winning poet in his own right. "They tend to be experimental writers dealing with problems of identity and colonialism." Hedeen, a specialist in Latin-American poetry, added, "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to bring these amazing Spanish writers to the attention of the English-speaking public, who has no clue about them."
Kenyon students have helped Earthworks as researchers and editorial assistants, said McAdams. "The series is too great a resource and opportunity not to have our students involved in it."
Three Ojibwe authors who have published in the series came to the College for the Kenyon Review's literary festival in 2009, when the journal honored Native American author Louise Erdrich with its Award for Literary Achievement. In addition, two Native American writers, Simon Ortiz and Diane Glancy, recently served as visiting professors, in the rotating Richard L. Thomas Chair in Creative Writing.