Feb 2024 – Reclamation Poetry Gathering

A trans-Indigenous conversation, with juxtapositions
that decenter European thought and begin to translate
an oceanic-to-desert-to-river-to-forest poetic imaginary.

Reclamation Poetry Gathering

February 15 – 18, 2024


RECLAMATION gathered 19 fellows chosen to participate in the 2023 Poetry & the Senses program for a weekend of readings, conversations, and workshops. Three readings, hosted at BAMPFA, were all free & open to the public, along with a book signing. Fellows enjoyed two workshops: Ekphrastic Writing with Natalie Diaz & Craig Santos Perez on Friday, followed by a Workshop on Scores with Tanya Lukin Linklater on Saturday. A welcome dinner and closing reception warmly bookended the weekend, closing out the 2023 Poetry & the Senses Fellowship.

Organized by the Arts Research Center with generous support from The Engaging the Senses Foundation, and co-sponsored by the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, Townsend Center, the English Department, Center for Race & Gender, and an Arts & Humanities Community Building Grant

Moments of Reclamation

More images here!


Row 1 from left to right: Poetry & the Senses fellows and facilitators, Sa Whitley, Natalie Diaz & Laurie Macfee.
Row 2 from left to right: Al-An deSouza, Ekphrastic Writing Workshop, Carol Ann Carl.
Row 3 from left to right: Fede Kong-Gonzalez, Ines Hernandez-Avila, Phillip Cash Cash.
Row 4 from left to right: Cristina S. Mendez, Ayling Z. Dominguez,  Kellen Trenal.
Row 5 from left to right: Natalie Diaz, Beth Piatote, Craig Santos Perez.
Row 6 from left to right: Julian Ankney & Angel Sobotta, Writing Workshop with Tanya Lukin Linklater, Ekphrastic Writing Workshop.
Row 7: ARC staff, Poetry & the Senses fellows, and facilitators

Images courtesy of Taté Walker & Laurie Macfee

Under the theme of Reclamation, the 2023 Spring and Fall terms of Poetry & the Senses were led by Indigenous writers who draw on Indigenous languages and aesthetics: Craig Santos Perez (Chamoru, Spring 2023), Natalie Diaz (Mojave, Fall 2023), and Beth Piatote (Nez Perce, 2023 year). Berkeley’s poetry fellows were joined by a team of writers from University of Hawaii (Perez); Arizona State University (Diaz); and the community-based Nez Perce writing collective, luk’upsíimey (Piatote).

UC Berkeley occupies the unceded territory of the Ohlone peoples, and as a land grant university it benefits materially from the historical and ongoing dispossession of Indigenous land. In calendar year 2023, ARC created dialogues with two other public land-grant universities that also have significant, complex histories with Native territorial dispossession as well as with Indigenous education and outreach. The first is University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in spring 2023, and the second is Arizona State University, in fall 2023. ARC Poetry Fellows from UC Berkeley & the Bay Area were in conversation with both fellowship cohorts from UH and ASU. In addition, they collaborated with fellows from the Nez Perce writing group luk’upsíimey, which uses poetry to assist in crucial reclamation and linguistic revitalization. The Nez Perce were exiled and forced to disperse from their homelands in Wallawa, Oregon; language and poetry is one mechanism of their return.

This expansion of our current model created connections around Indigenous issues across 4+ different western states and explored poetry and the politics of language in a wider framework. The interest is in creating a trans-Indigenous conversation, with juxtapositions that decenter European thought and begin to translate an oceanic-to-desert-to-river-to-forest poetic imaginary.


Cody Achin, Julian Ankney, Carol Ann Carl, Phillip Cash Cash, Al-An deSouza, Ayling Z. Dominguez, Amanda Galvan Huynh, Ines Hernandez-Avila, Chris Hoshnic, Fede Kong-Gonzalez, Marisa Lin, Cristina S. Mendez, No’u Revilla, Angel Sobotta, Aimee Suzara, Tierra Sydnor, Kellen Trenal, Taté Walker, Sa Whitley

Read more about each poet


Natalie Diaz was born on the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe (Akimel O’odham). Diaz is the author of Postcolonial Love Poem, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, finalist for the National Book Award, Forward Prize in Poetry, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of a Publishing Triangle Award. Her first book, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was winner of an American Book Award. She is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a Lannan Literary Foundation Fellow, a Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellow, and a former Princeton University Hodder Fellow. She was awarded the Princeton Holmes National Poetry Prize and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the United States Artists, where she is an alumnus of the Ford Fellowship. Diaz is Founding Director of the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University, where she is a Professor in the English MFA program. In 2021, Diaz was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and was a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Diaz resides in Phoenix, Arizona, but is currently living in Brooklyn as a Mellon Foundation Research Residency Fellowship and a Senior Fellow at The New School Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy. She is the 2024 Yale Rosenkranz Writer in Residence.  

Craig Santos Perez is an indigenous Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guam. He holds an MFA in Creative writing from the University of San Francisco and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the co-editor of eight anthologies and the author of six books of poetry and the academic monograph Navigating Chamoru Poetry: Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization. Craig is a 2023 National Book Award winner for from unincorporated territory [åmot], which features experimental and visual poems diving into the history and culture of the poet’s homeland, Guam. This book is the fifth collection in Craig Santos Perez’s ongoing from unincorporated territory series about the history of the western Pacific island of Guåhan (Guam), and the culture of his indigenous Chamoru people.

Beth Piatote is a creative writer, playwright, and scholar. She is the author of two books, including the mixed-genre collection, The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint 2019), which was long-listed for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and the PEN/Bingham Prize, and short-listed for the California Independent Booksellers Association “Golden Poppy” Prize for Fiction. Her short stories and poems have appeared in Poetry,Kenyon Review, Epiphany, World Literature Today, and numerous other journals and anthologies. She has two books forthcoming: a poetry collection, Nez Perce Word for Shark, from Milkweed Editions; and a collection of essays, Living with History: Notes on the Indigenous Everyday, with WW Norton. She is an associate professor of Comparative Literature and English and the Director of the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley. She is Nez Perce, enrolled with Colville Confederated Tribes.

This program was scheduled in coordination with the Duane Linklater: mymotherside exhibition & retrospective, and was generously funded by Engaging the Senses Foundation, with support from the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Townsend Center, the English Department, and an Arts & Humanities Community Building Grant.

Read more about the Duane Linklater: mymotherside exhibit at BAMPFA!


Friday Feb 16th

11:30am-12:45pm: Fellow Reading & Conversation 1, Crane Forum, BAMPFA (free & open to the public)
featuring Al-An deSouza, Ayling Dominguez, Ines Hernandez-Avila, Chris Hoshnic, Amanda Galvan Huynh, Cristina Mendez,  Angel Sobotta, Tierra Sydnor, Kellen Trenal, Sa Whitley

2:00-3:15pm: Fellow Reading & Conversation 2, Crane Forum, BAMPFA (free & open to the public)
featuring Cody Achin, Julian Ankney, Carol Ann Carl, Phil Cash Cash, Fede Kong-Gonzalez, Marisa Lin, No’u Revilla, Aimee Suzara, Taté Walker

Saturday Feb 17th

1:30-3:00pm: Reading featuring Natalie Diaz, Craig Santos Perez, & Beth Piatote, Osher Theater, BAMPFA (free & open to the public)

3:00-4pm: Booksigning outside Osher Theater, BAMPFA (free & open to the public)


Thursday Feb 15th at 7pm: Welcome Dinner

Friday Feb 16th from 4:00 – 6:00pm: Poetry Fellows Ekphrastic Writing Workshop in Duane Linklater: mymotherside exhibit with Natalie Diaz, Craig Santos Perez, and Beth Piatote

Saturday Feb 17 from 10am – 12pm: Poetry Fellows and Indigenous Poetics Lab Fellows, Writing Workshop with Tanya Lukin Linklater, Arts Research Center

Saturday Feb 17th from 4:30-6pm: Closing Reception (fellows & invited guests)