Thursday, July 10, 2014

Meet the Native Writer Award Winner: Matthew Skeets

Matthew Skeets of the Navajo Indian Reservation from Vanderwagen has been awarded the 2014 Native Writer Award. He is a recent graduate summa cum laude from the University of New Mexico with two Bachelor of art degrees in poetry and Native Studies. During his undergraduate career he worked closely with poets Luci Tapahonso, Lisa Chavez, and Natalie Scenters-Zapico. Currently he is an intern in communications and social media for American Indian Opportunity in Albuquerque.

Skeets began to write poetry when he first read Emily Dickinson. He spent nearly two years of high school emulating her style, line, and meter. Other poets that Skeets admires include Luci Tapahonso, Sherwin Bitsui, Orlando White, Joy Harjo, Natalie Diaz, Eduardo C. Corral, Rigoberto Gonzales, and Tomás Q. Morín. The Native Writer Award was created in memory of Native author and former colleague Louis Owens. It offers paid tuition for one weekend or weeklong workshop, as well paid lodging to any Native American who is a resident of New Mexico. The award recognizes excellence in fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.

When informed about his award Skeets responded, “It’s a small dream of mine to come to the Conference. Thank you.” Matthew will be attending the weeklong workshop with Tomas Q. Morin. In the past recipients like Chee Brossy, Coral Dawn Bernal and Christina M. Castro have been awarded the Native Writer Award, making Skeets even more honored to have been given the award. This will be his first time attending a writing conference and one of Skeets’ goals after this conference is to compile his best work to then apply to graduate creative writing programs in the fall. Skeets also hopes to gain some perspective on how to normalize his writing life, gaining precision in his writing style and learning to be an active writer outside the workshop setting. Finally, Skeets is thankful to the organizers of the conference for giving him this great opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Matthew!
    Tom Claffey