Lehua M. Taitano is a queer CHamoru writer and interdisciplinary artist from Yigu, Guåhan (Guam) and co-founder of Art 25: Art in the Twenty-fifth Century. She is the author of two volumes of poetry—Inside Me an Island and A Bell Made of Stones. Her chapbook, appalachiapacific, won the Merriam-Frontier Award for short fiction. She has two recent chapbooks of poetry and visual art: Sonoma and Capacity.
Her poetry, essays, and Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction have been published internationally. She is the recipient of a 2019 Eliza So Fellowship and the 2019 Summer Poet-in-Residence at The Poetry Center at The University of Arizona.
She has served as an APAture Featured Literary Artist via Kearny Street Workshop, a Kuwentuhan poet via The Poetry Center at SFSU, and as a Culture Lab visual artist and curatorial advisor for the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American Center. Taitano’s work investigates modern indigeneity, decolonization, and cultural identity in the context of diaspora.
“Letters from an Island” is part of When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, available from W.W. Norton:
United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gathers the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology.
This landmark anthology celebrates the indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries. Opening with a blessing from Pulitzer Prize–winner N. Scott Momaday, the book contains powerful introductions from contributing editors who represent the five geographically organized sections.
Click to view the video poem, “Current, I,” which is part of the Smithsonian APA’s 2019 digital exhibition, A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America, presented in partnership with Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and AARP.