Layli Long Soldier — The Freedom of Real Apologies
The Oglala Lakota poet. “I wanted as much as possible to avoid this nostalgic portraiture of a Native life.” The reward and joy of patience. The difference between guilt, shame, and freedom from denial. When apologies are done well.
Layli Long Soldier is a writer, a mother, a citizen of the United States, and a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. She has a way of opening up this part of her life, and of American life, to inspire self-searching and tenderness. Her award-winning first book of poetry, WHEREAS, is a response to the U.S. government’s official apology to Native peoples in 2009, which was done so quietly, with no ceremony, that it was practically a secret. Layli Long Soldier offers entry points for us all — to events that are not merely about the past, and to the freedom real apologies might bring.
Layli Long Soldier is the recipient of the 2015 Lannan Fellowship for Poetry and a 2015 National Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Her first book of poetry, WHEREAS, is a winner of the multiple awards including the Whiting Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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