Recently added to our lineup is the exciting young poet Sherwin Bitsui, a Diné (Navajo) who is a member of the Bitter Water clan, actively participates in the ceremonial life of his tribe, and writes muscled, surrealistic poetry that breaks all kinds of new ground.

Read this commentary from American poet/professor Eileen Myles, posted in Craft Work.

I’m a Sherwin Bitsui fan because his poems have a calm murmuring forward motion that I deeply trust and a surrealism that feels older than French and may be engaging both poet and reader in scarier transitions than the deliberate disordering of the senses not that I am dumping on Arthur Rimbaud. But Sherwin Bitsui writes “in” Native American in as unambivalent a way as I write in Boston-ese or something else. And since he is also reading a whole tradition of European and South American literature or maybe Spanish or maybe it’s language poetry I simply love that there are many kinds of disordering animating and rerouting factors erupting and surging and patterning his poem from line to line. He codes this richness coolly. His poem “Asterisk” opens with these head-scratching lines:

Fourteen ninety something,

something happened

which heralds an ensuing world of distrust, observation and possibility. But he dispenses with the puzzled affect right away: “and no one can pick it out of the lineup…” darkening his almost Jewish comedian’s coy meander onto the stage. Yet the indeterminate ‘something’ seems permanently hired to investigate the whole world — it prowls the poem:

something lurking in the mineshaft—

and motor oil seeps through the broken white line of the teacher’s loom.

something, / can’t loop this needle into it.

I love that “this.” Is it the w