State University professor Dr. Laura Tohe was announced as
the next Navajo Nation poet laureate at NTU.
Dr. Laura Tohe was announced as the next Navajo Nation poet
laureate and was recognized at an induction ceremony at the Navajo
Technical University Hospitality Center. She succeeds Luci Tapahonso
and is the second poet laureate of the Navajo Nation.
Dr. Tohe is a Professor with Exemplar Distinction in the English
Department at Arizona State University (ASU). She has authored three
books of poetry, edited an anthology of Native women writers, and
has completed an oral history on the Navajo Code Talkers. Her body
of work is recognized throughout North America and Europe and has
been translated into French, Dutch, and Italian.
Dr. Tohes work is the recipient of numerous awards. In
1992, her book, Making Friends with Water, won the Institute of
Creative Research and Sport Art Academys award after it was
made into a modern dance. Her book on boarding schools, No Parole
Today, won the Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers
Poetry of the Year Award in 1999. In 2006, Arizona Humanities named
Tohe as the Dan Schilling Public Scholar Award recipient. The following
year, her book Tseyí Deep in the Rock received the Southwest
Book of the Year award, the 2007 Glyph Award for Best Poetry, and
the Arizona Book Associations Best Book award.
As a result of all her success, the Phoenix Symphony commissioned
Dr. Tohe to write the libretto for Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio,
which made its 2008 world premiere as part of the Phoenix Symphonys
60th anniversary. Dr. Tohes most recent work, Code Talker
Stories (2012), is an oral history consisting of interviews with
the surviving Navajo code talkers.
Dr. Tohes clans are Tsénahabiãnii (Sleepy
Rock People clan), born for the Tódichinii (Bitter
Water clan). She grew up in Crystal, New Mexico near the Chuska
Mountains and attended boarding school and public schools in Albuquerque,
New Mexico. She holds a Ph.D. in American literature and creative
writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Navajo Technical Universitys Bachelor of Fine Arts in
Creative Writing and New Media houses the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate
program, under the guidance of the Office of the Navajo Nation Vice