Sign up for a Certificate in Novel Writing: Save Money on Classes!

2017-11/19 Writing on Turtle Island – The Poetry of Native America Poem-Making with Jim Moreno

Date: Sunday, November 19, 2017 Time: 1pm to 4pm Number of sessions: One Day Class! Members: $45 Nonmembers: $54 Location: San Diego Writers, Ink, ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station, 2730 Historic Decatur Road, Barracks 16, 2nd Floor Above Women's Museum, San Diego, CA 92106

How can we describe Native American poetry, nee Indigenous verse? Harper’s Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry calls it the poetry of “historic witness.” For the purposes of this class we can go deeper into the oral tradition of any indigenous people and say that a written poem resonates with the consciousness, if not the lives, of the ancestors. We could also say that a Native American phrase, sentence, saying, or theme was most likely spoken by predecessors who lived hundreds to thousands of years ago.

The contemporary Native American poet is continuing a consciousness, if not a way of speaking and living, that originated not only long before the Europeans arrived, but from a way of being on Mother Earth that originated with the first storytellers who painted the hunt, the song, or the origin of the People on the wall of a cave, on a rock, or on the side of a mountain. Storytellers also honed the oral tradition in song, creation stories, and other initial forms of memoir or witnessing to record in memory the ethos of the culture, tribe, era, or community.

When Joy Harjo (Muscogee) writes: “She had some horses who thought they were the sun and their bodies shown and burned like stars,” it is not only about showing personification, imagery, and simile. It is a tapping into an ancient wisdom, consciously or unconsciously, that allows the transformative power of the art to be amplified in the reader and the writer. If you aren’t inspired by what you are writing, why should the reader be?

When M. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) writes in House of Dawn: “Coyotes have the gift of seldom being seen; they keep to the edge of vision and beyond…,They are an old council of clowns, and they are listened to.” You are reading a teaching as old as the first camp fire or shaped arrowhead; maybe more.

Join Jim Moreno (Chumash) for this class which resonates with November’s National Native American Heritage Month and is in solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. And, staying in character for Moreno, can a Mary Oliver poem resonate with Joy Harjo’s verse? Can a William Stafford poem resonate with a Jimmy Santiago Baca (Apache) poem? Two cultures, one heart. Join Jim for this spirited class and see. For beginning or seasoned writers.

Jim Moreno was adopted into the Barbareno Chumash Tribe by the Moreno family (Noni, John, Sue, Pat, and Georgi) in 1995. His mother who adopted him mostly had a guitar in her hands and was a joyful singer. Noni was of Tohono O’dham, Pima, Mexican, and Irish ancestry. His brother John, who he met at a Bear Dance on Pala Reservation, is a singer, painter, storyteller and linguist bringing back the Smuwich language, the tongue of the Chumash.

Jim is a teaching artist with San Diego Writers, Ink and on the Program Committee. He also teaches poetry at Arts 4 Learning where he was voted the Residency Teaching Artist of the Year for 2016-2017. Moreno is on the Advisory Board of the Poetic Medicine Institute in Palo Alto California and a Regional Editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. Jim is generating poems for the annual in the adult, Native American, and Juvenile Hall sections.

Jim Moreno is the author of “Dancing in Dissent: Poetry For Activism,” (Dolphin Calling Press, 2007) and two cd’s of music and poetry.  He is a Teaching Artist & on the Program Committee with San Diego Writers, Ink. Jim has studied with Steve Kowit, Sam Hamod, RegE Gaines, D.J. Watson, Willie Perdomo, Judy Reeves, John Fox, and G. Lynne Nelson. Moreno is  on the Advisory Board of the Poetic Medicine Institute in Palo Alto, California.  He is a Regional Editor with the San Diego Poetry Annual and a Teaching Artist with Arts 4 Learning where he was just voted the Residency Teaching Artist of the Year, 2016-2017. Jim hosts 2nd Tuesday-Jihmye Poetry at the Cafe Cabaret, an open mic for spoken word. Contact him at

PLEASE NOTE: It is best to register at least a week before the start of a class to help our instructors prepare and ensure that a class does not get cancelled or rescheduled.