Bojan Louis is Diné of the Naakai dine’é, born for the Áshííhí. He is the author of the short-story collection Sinking Bell (Graywolf Press 2022), the poetry collection Currents (BkMk Press 2017), and the nonfiction chapbook Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (The Guillotine Series 2012). His work can also be found in Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers, When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, Native Voices Anthology, and The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature. His honors include a MacDowell Fellowship and he is the recipient of a 2018 American Book Award. In addition to teaching at the Institute for American Indian Arts, Louis is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing MFA and American Indian Studies programs at the University of Arizona.
I’m stunned and elated to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. It will enable me to stay put, to say no to extra work, and to be more present with my family and creative work, which have become intertwined. Parenthood and sobriety have been the most difficult aspects of my life, even after a lifetime of abuse, trauma, and hardship. Aside from my family and dogs, poetic forms have been my solace. Writing, an act of healing and resistance. My first two books took ten and 16 years to finish. I was always chasing money, opportunity, and extra gigs to make ends meet and to see what I could of the world and maybe find a new place to hide. Exhaustion and burnout became fixed modes for me. Now, with the generous gift of the NEA, I will be able to concentrate and dedicate myself more fully to the forms that are driving my poetic practice and complete a second collection of poetry sooner than later.