Alice Azure

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Portrait of Alice Azure

Alice Azure (born July 30, 1940 in North Adams, Massachusetts) is a poet and writer of Mi’kmaq Metis descent.[1] Her roots are in the Kespu'kwitk District of Nova Scotia.[2] She is a member of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers and the St. Louis Poetry Center.[3]

Biography[edit]

Azure's father, Joseph Alfred Hatfield, was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, but grew up in northern Maine and New Hampshire. He was of French, Dutch, and Mi'kmaq descent. Azure's mother, Catherine Pedersen, was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts, but spent her formative years in Mandal, Norway from about 1924 to 1934. She was of Norwegian descent. At the age of seven, family strife sent Azure and her siblings to live in the Cromwell Children’s Home in Connecticut. Azure lived there from 1951 to 1959. She attended the University of Iowa, earning an M.A. degree in urban and regional planning.[1]

Azure has been married twice. She married Tom Liljegren in 1960, and they had three children, Kathryn, Michael, and Patti. After twenty years of marriage, they divorced. Her second husband, Alec Azure, died after only two and a half years of marriage. Through her grief, Azure devoted more of her time to writing.[1] Before she began writing, Azure worked for the United Way, starting as a volunteer in 1975, then as a professional in 1979. Except for a four-year period from mid-1990 to 1994, she remained a community planner in various local United Ways until her retirement January 2006.[4]

She currently lives in Maryville, Illinois.[5]

Discovering her ancestry[edit]

Azure was, for a long time, unclear about her familial roots, and did not know to which tribe she belonged. After searching for 35 years, she wrote a memoir, Along Came A Spider, about her life and the struggles she went through to discover her ancestry. After years of research, a visit to Nova Scotia, and alliances with Metis groups in Nova Scotia, Azure was finally able to discover many of her old ancestors, dating as far back as the 17th century. Along her journey, Azure also discovered her spiritual guide, Grandmother Spider. Azure speaks with Grandmother Spider throughout her memoir, who provides inspiration and tranquility.[1][6]

Azure has been granted recognition of aboriginal status as an Acadian descendant in Nova Scotia by the Association des Acadiens Metis-Sourquois (salt water people), who are located in Saulnierville, Digby County, Nova Scotia.[6]

Featured writing[edit]

Azure's work has been featured in many journals and magazines, including

  • "Facing Down the Black Robes: An Interview with Charlene Eastman." Yellow Medicine Review, Ed. Chip Livingston. Fall 2012.
  • "August Offerings" in The Florida Review, Volume 35, Number 1. Summer 2010[7]
  • "From Wasouk to Shoah and Back: A Mi’kmaq Honor Song" in Eating Fire, Tasting Blood: An Anthology of the American Indian Holocaust[8]
  • "Green Bay Blues" in Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review[9]
  • "Horicon II" in The Cream City Review[10]
  • "The Clown's Dance" in Native Chicago[11]
  • "Someday I Will Dance," "Glooscap's Messenger," "Katahdin Pilgrimage," and "Speelya Visions" in Micmac Maliseet Nations News[12]
  • "Bitterness Bundle" in Word Trails: Wordcraft Circle Quarterly Journal[13]
  • "Coyote Medicine Man," "Abnaki Winter," "Speelya Visions," "Glooscap's Messenger," "Someday I Will Dance," "Katahdin Pilgrimage," "To Michael," "Cumulative Pasts," "To Joanie, My Sister," "Animus Fantasy," "Leaving Maine," and "Elegy For My Cowboy" in Skins: Drumbeats from City [14]
  • "Isolation" in Pegasus 1960: The North Park Literature and Arts Review[15]

Publications[edit]

  • Along Came A Spider. Mayville, IL: Bowman Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1458372062
  • In Mi'kmaq Country: selected poems & stories. Chicago, IL: Albatross Press, 2007.
  • Games of Transformation. Chicago, IL: Albatross Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0966337136. Winner of the 2012 Poetry award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Along Came A Spider, Bowman Books, Mayville, IL, 2011
  2. ^ "Contributors". Past and Current Contributors. Native Literatures. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  3. ^ zoominfo. "Alice. M. Azure". Web references. zoominfo.com. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Azure, Alice (2007). In Mi'kmaq County: selected poems & stories. Chicago, IL: Albatross Press. p. inside cover. 
  5. ^ Adams, Faye. "Interview: Alice M. Azure". STLbooks. Retrieved 4/2/13. 
  6. ^ a b Rankovic, Catherine. "Talking With:Alice Azure, Native American Author". Interview with Alice Azure. Book Eval. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "35.1". The Florida Review. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Moore, MariJo (2006). Eating Fire, Tasting Blood: An Anthology of the American Indian Holocaust. 
  9. ^ Smith, R.T. (January 2004). Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review 54 (3). 
  10. ^ Auvinen, Karen (May 2003). The Cream City Review 27 (1). 
  11. ^ Straus, Terry; Grant P. Amdt (1998). The Native Chicago. 
  12. ^ Micmac Maliseet Nations News: 18, 22, 23, 25,. August–November 1995. 
  13. ^ Francis, Lee (January 1994). Word Trails: Wordcraft Circle Quarterly Journal 1 (1): 6. 
  14. ^ Straus, Terry; E. Donald Two Rivers (1994). Skins: Drumbeats from City: 12–13. 
  15. ^ Pegasus 1960: The North Park Literature and Arts Review 31: 10. 1960. 
  16. ^ "Honors and Awards 2012". Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. 

External links[edit]

  • Alice Azure Official Website
  • Senier, Siobhan, "Rethinking Recognition: Mi’kmaq and Maliseet Poets Re-Write Land and Community" in MELUS
  • Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers webpage
  • St. Louis Poetry Center webpage
  • In Mi'kmaq Country book review