It’s been a huge week for RED INK: The journal has officially relaunched and Issue 18.1 is now for sale. But our mission is to be more than just a print journal; we want to engage with communities beyond academia.
Fiction editor Kenny Dyer-Redner is proof of that, as he’s recently completed an amazing journey across fifteen reservations for his thesis VEHICLE OF RESISTANCE: A BICYCLE RIDE FOR THE LAND, CULTURE, AND COMMUNITY.
Marshall Terrill talked to Kenny about his work, which “uses a theoretical framework that explores four concepts: history/land, storytelling, the physical body and political action.” Read more about Kenny’s thesis and trip in Terrill’s article for ASU Now.
We’re so proud of you, Kenny! At our Issue 18.1 mailing party, Kenny looked happy if tired, saying:
“It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to do it again. I am happy to be home again with my family, though.”
We’d like to offer a special thanks to our dedicated staff, and to the crew at JC Printing for their guidance. Many, many thanks to our patient and talented contributors whose words and art make all this possible. Without them this is nothing.
Special thanks to the talented Jeremy Singer,who granted us use of his art for the cover. It’s a beautiful and sublime composition that reflects the words and visions inside. Special thanks also to Sherman Alexie, the ASU Art Museum, and the ASU community for helping us kick off the issue in style:
Help celebrate the inaugural issue of RED INK International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, and Humanities with National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie, a Spokane-Coeur de Alene poet, filmmaker, and novelist. Alexie will give a talk and then read from and sign copies of his books, which will be available for sale at the event by Phoenix Book Company.
Alexie has published 24 books including What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned, Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and a 20th Anniversary edition of his classic book of stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
Smoke Signals, the movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.
Alexie’s visit is hosted by the ASU RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All: Collaboration and Creativity at Work, with support from ASU’s American Indian Studies, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Center for Indian Education.
You can find the event flyer here & ASU Event description here.
In October, Spokane/Coeur d’Alene artist Sherman Alexie visited Arizona State University to deliver the Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture to Barrett Honors College. Alexie’s written work has been recognized with the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. While he was here, he sat down with me in a local diner to discuss artists’ influence on other artists, future directions of Native American literature, and the need for genre diversity in storytelling.
Travis Franks: Can you talk about your relationship with our managing editor Simon Ortiz and his influence on your work?
Sherman Alexie: Well the biggest thing has been his personal kindness toward me. When I started writing, this was long before emails and cellphones, so he actually heard about me and wrote me a letter at the English Department at Washington State University. And he put twenty dollars in there. And he wrote this very kind letter: “I’ve been hearing about your poems from people, and I’ve seen a few of them, and I want you to keep up your good work.” Just kindness out of nowhere.
TF: Can you talk about your writing process?
SA: I mean, I’ve published 25 books. I work my ass off. I keep writing, and one of the reasons I have so many books is because I don’t have a writing community. I don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about writing. I write. The thing is, the loneliness of the road makes you feel like you want to go out and connect or create this sense of belonging, but I don’t need that. If I have a couple of hours, I write. I have a lot of airplane time. I write. I drop my kids off at school. I write.
TF: What has Absolutely True Diary taught you about Young Adult fiction as a genre and the need for novels about Indigenous teens?
SA: The young adult genre is the only one that’s growing and doing well across the board. It’s actually selling books in big numbers. There’s a hunger for it. And a lot of adults are reading in that genre. I really think it’s because the basic idea is plot, of a three-act structure, of old-age storytelling. And there’s actually a lot of innovation going on inside of that, but these are mainstream novels about mainstream issues.
I think with True Diary, not just is the Indigenous kid popular but it’s this kid in an age old story about the adventure of growing up, about seeking adulthood. It’s the story of an Indigenous teen that fits neatly into an American story, and I think that’s why it’s so widely popular.
TF: You are so successful at creating and reaching a broad audience through poetry, prose, screenwriting, social media, and a podcast. Is this visibility a product of your success or a reason for it?
SA: It’s chicken and egg. I think it’s so blended that it’s impossible to separate it. It’s all storytelling. In fact, I would argue that my stage ability, my performance ability, is actually far more traditional than my words on the page ability.
It’s a combination of growing up inside of a traditional culture with traditional ceremonies and storytelling, but also being a TV addict. I’m equal parts western civ and tribal traditions. I’m equal parts pop culture and powwow culture. And that’s who we all are.
The above conversation is excerpted from an interview feature in Issue 18.1 of Red Ink: An International Journal of Indigenous Arts, Literature, & Humanities. Want to finish reading? Issue 18.1 will be released on April 22nd. Order your copy now, or celebrate with us at the Red Ink Gala in Tempe.
Please join us on Saturday, April 16, from 12-1PM at the Connections Café in the Tempe Public Library, where Red Ink Editors & members of the ASU faculty will be participating in the inaugural Tempe Book Festival. Acclaimed poets Simon Ortiz, Bojan Louis and Laura Tohe will be sharing their works. The reading will celebrate authors who are expressive voices of Indigenous (Native) America as a social-cultural entity.
RED INK: International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities is an expressive voice of Indigenous (Native) American identity, land, culture, and community. Formerly known as Red Ink Magazine, the Journal has re-opened calls for submission and will publish its inaugural issue in Spring 2016.
Vol. 17.2, Winter 2014-2015
This is University of Arizona’s final issue of Red Ink Magazine. Stay tuned for the sneak peek of Arizona State University’s first issue, Vol. 18.1. coming Spring 2016.
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