Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

Writing as Cathartic Practice and with Intention toward the Audience: Autumn White Eyes on Poetry

Autumn White Eyes (enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe, Northern Cheyenne, and Pawnee descent) talks about writing, revision, and the evolution of her work. She sees poetry and spoken word as forms of oral tradition and storytelling: "I was lucky to grow up with my great grandmothers," she says, "and I loved hearing them tell stories, which always sounded like poetry to me." Their stories are one source of her inspiration; others include the writing and performance styles of John Trudell, Mayda del Valle, Tanaya Winder, Supaman.