Rebecca Pelky is a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation of Wisconsin and a native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is the author of Through a Red Place (Perugia Press), winner of the 2021 Perguia Press Prize for poetry. Her first collection, Horizon of the Dog Woman (Saint Julian Press), was released in 2020. Her most recent publication is a translation of Chilean poet Matilde Ladrón de Guevara’s poetry collection Desnuda, Naked (Redhawk Publications), co-translated with Jake Young. Pelky received her MFA from Northern Michigan University and her PhD from the University of Missouri. She now teaches film studies and creative writing at Clarkson University in the uppermost reaches of upstate New York.
The project I’m working on relies on travel to communities, archives, and historical sites across New England, the Midwest, and the Southeast. This amazing award from the National Endowment for the Arts will allow me the time and resources to find the places and documents and objects that will inspire poems for this book. It will also give me more time and resources to focus on learning Mohegan, my ancestral language, in which many of the poems in this book will be written. Above all though, the NEA has awarded me a little more confidence in myself and a little more belief in my own work, which is perhaps what I needed most.