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Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, is an author of 22 books, a world-renown poetry champion, writer and director of the 1988 film Smoke Signals and self-proclaimed “writing nomad”. His humor and insight has translated to audiences for 25 years. His writing career began the day his alcohol abuse ended: “I don’t necessarily believe in magic but I believe in interpreting coincidences exactly the way you want to. I woke up after a tremendous bender and the acceptance for my first book of poems was in the mailbox.”

In a 2012 interview with Time and a 2013 interview with Bill Moyers, Alexie addresses the ongoing bigotry against Native Americans:

From BillMoyers.com
From BillMoyers.com

A lot of people think [sports mascots are] a minor issue. Google search Chief Wahoo, put it up on one side of your screen, and then, google search Sambo and put it on your screen. And this horribly racist, vile depiction of African Americans looks exactly like the Chief Wahoo mascot of the Cleveland Indians – exactly. And why is one acceptable and the other isn’t. And the simple answer is the United States is still a colony and the colonized people get no vote in this.

Enjoy Alexie’s poem, Facebook Sonnet (and hear him read it):

Welcome to the endless high-school
Reunion. Welcome to past friends
And lovers, however kind or cruel.
Let’s undervalue and unmend

The present. Why can’t we pretend
Every stage of life is the same?
Let’s exhume, resume, and extend
Childhood. Let’s play all the games

That occupy the young. Let fame
And shame intertwine. Let one’s search
For God become public domain.
Let church.com become our church

Let’s sign up, sign in, and confess
Here at the altar of loneliness.