Sherwin Bitsui

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Sherwin Bitsui
Holbrook, Arizona
OccupationWriter, painter
Notable worksFloodsong
Notable awardsAmerican Book Award;
PEN Open Book Award

Sherwin Bitsui (born 1974 Fort Defiance, Arizona) is originally from Baaʼoogeedí (White Cone, Arizona), on the Navajo Nation. His book, Floodsong, won the American Book Award and the PEN Open Book Award.


He is Navajo of the Todichʼíiʼnii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tłʼízíłání (Many Goats Clan).[1]

He holds an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program. He is the recipient of the 2000-01 Individual Poet Grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the 1999 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, a Soul Mountain Residency, a Lannan Foundation Literary Residency Fellowship and a 2006 Whiting Award.[2] In 2012, he was honored with an NACF Artist Fellowship in Literature.[3] He has served in visiting faculty positions, including distinguished visiting, Eminent Writer for the University of Wyoming, Visiting Hugo Writer University of Montana, and San Diego State University, where he has been on creative writing faculty since 2013. Also, since 2013, he has served on the faculty of the Institute of American Indian Arts in the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing program.[4]

Sherwin has published poems in American Poet, The Iowa Review, Frank (Paris), Lit Magazine, and elsewhere. His poems were also anthologized in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century and Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas.

Many of Bitsui's poems explore how different values, concepts and ideas become when experienced in Navaho as opposed to English.[5]

His book of poetry, Flood Song[6], was published in 2009 by Copper Canyon Press and won an American Book Award in 2010. His most recent book of poetry, Dissolve[7], is also published by Copper Canyon Press and will be released in October 2018.

Currently, he lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Selected works[edit]


  • Dissolve, Copper Canyon Press. 2018 (forthcoming). ISBN 978-1-55659-5455
  • Flood Song. Copper Canyon Press. 2009. ISBN 978-1-55659-308-6.
  • Shapeshift. University of Arizona Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-8165-2342-9.


  1. ^ Kenneth Lincoln (1 January 2009). Speak Like Singing: Classics of Native American Literature. UNM Press. pp. 291–. ISBN 978-0-8263-4170-9.
  2. ^ "Sherwin Bitsui". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Sherwin Bitsui". Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  4. ^ "MFA Faculty IAIA". Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  5. ^ Elizabeth Delaney Hoffman (22 February 2012). American Indians and Popular Culture [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-313-37991-8.
  6. ^{6E12D2F9-B716-4F1E-94E9-88E37140404D}
  7. ^{95628740-DCD2-471B-B34E-D170A5FF5EDE}

External links[edit]

External audio
Sherwin Bitsui, The Poet and the Poem 2017-18