Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, Hyperboreal, and The Straits. Her awards include the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, the American Book Award, the Alaska Literary Award, and fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and the School for Advanced Research. Kane is a faculty mentor in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, and lives in Anchorage, AK.
Milk Black Carbon works against the narratives of dispossession and survival that mark the contemporary experience of many indigenous people, and Inuit in particular. In this collection, autobiographical details – motherhood, marriage, extended family and its geographical context in the rapidly changing arctic – negotiate arbitrary landscapes of our perplexing frontiers through fragmentation and interpretation of conventional lyric expectations.
Winner of the 2012 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry
Selected by Arthur Sze
Hyperboreal originates from diasporas. It attempts to make sense of change and to prepare for cultural, climate, and political turns that are sure to continue. The poems originate from the hope that our lives may be enriched by the expression of and reflection on the cultural strengths inherent to indigenous culture. It concerns King Island, the ancestral home of the author’s family until the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs forcibly and permanently relocated its residents. The poems work towards the assembly of an identity, both collective and singular, that is capable of looking forward from the recollection and impact of an entire community’s relocation to distant and arbitrary urban centers. Through language, Hyperboreal grants forum to issues of displacement, lack of access to traditional lands and resources and loss of family that King Island people—and all Inuit—are contending with.