James Thomas Stevens

James Thomas Stevens is a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe, born in Niagara Falls, New York in 1966. James briefly attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and Brooklyn College. He finished his undergraduate schooling at the Institute of American Indian Arts, with an AFA in Creative Writing. While attending IAIA, he was awarded the Gerald Red Elk Scholarship to attend the Naropa Institute Summer Writing Program and studied under, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Anselm Hollo. He also gave readings at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 1988 and 1989, and the Centre for Contemporary Arts. He was asked to give a reading at the IAIA Museum in 1995 and was awarded a Witter-Bynner Grant for a children's poetry project.

Upon graduating in 1990, James was given a full fellowship to attend the Brown University Graduate Writing Program. This was only the second time in Brown's history that they allowed an AFA directly into the MFA program. He received his MFA in May 1993.

In the fall of 1993, his first manuscript, Tokinish, was accepted for publication by First Intensity Press. The first edition sold out and it has been reprinted in its entirety in Visit Teepee Town [see below]. Tokinish was taught in curricula at Notre Dame University, University of Nagasaki, Arizona State University, and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

A second manuscript, Notes on the Music I Never Heard, concerning the use of music as a tool in the conquest, became the book, Combing the Snakes from His Hair. It was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 1996.

James has published in many journals including, Blue Mesa Review, Mandorla, First Intensity, Tan Tien (China), The Alembic, Exit Zero, and Arts Advocate Magazine of New Mexico. His entire manuscript of Tokinish was chosen to be republished in Visit Teepee Town, from CoffeeHouse Press.

James has been an Instructor of Poetry at Brown University (1993) and has worked with the anti-drug program, Wateauonk, at the Narragansett Community House (1991). James taught at Haskell Indian Nations University from 1997-2001. Currently he teaches in the English Department at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Writing available online

Lóng (from Salt Publishing)
A Species of Martyrdom: The Huronia Series
Lacrosse Night - Iroquoia
Selections from Tokinish:
Selection 1
Selection 2
Poem in April
James Thomas Stevens & Allison Hedge Coke on UN Radio (RealAudio) Download MP3


James was finalist for The National Poetry Series Award in 2005. He was nominated for a Before Columbus/American Book Award in 2003. In October, 2000, he was awarded a Whiting Writer's award given annually since 1985 to emerging writers of exceptional talent and promise. James has been nominated for Pushcart Prize in Poetry in 1996; he received the Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Prize in Poetry in 1993 and the City of Santa Fe Writer's Award in 1994. He received the Creative Writing Award at the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1991, and was a Witter-Bynner Foundation Poetry Grant recipient in 1993. While in college, he received the Gerald Red Elk Scholarship in 1990 and a Full Academic Scholarship at Brown University in 1991.

Books by James Thomas Stevens or containing his work

Poetry       icon

A Bridge Dead in the Water, Salt Publishing.
The Mutual Life, Plan B Press. forthcoming chapbook
Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations, with Caroline Sinavaiana, Subpress, Oakland.
(dis)Orient, Palm Press.
Combing the Snakes from His Hair, Michigan State University Press.
Tokinish, a book of original poetry, First Intensity Press, New York, 1994.
Preface to Tokinish, by Robert Kelly
Review in Notre Dame Review, Spring 1995, by Kevin Thomas Patrick di Camillo.
Review of Tokinish, by Joe Napora, from Bull Head

Anthologies      icon

Eating Fire, Tasting Blood: Breaking the Great Silence of the American Indian Holocaust. MariJo Moore (Editor), Thunder's Mouth Pr.
Poetry & Pedagogy, Joan Retallack, Alan Devenish and Juliana Spahr (Editors),
Palgrave/St. Martin's
Memory . . .The World As We Find It . . . Possibility: Anthology for Language and Thinking,
Retallack, Joan et al. (Editors), Bard College Press.
Genocide of the Mind, Marijo Moore (Editor), Thunder's Mouth Press.
Visit Teepee Town: Native Writing After the Detours, Diane Glancy, Mark Nowak (Editors), Coffeehouse Press.

Literary Magazines & Journals      icon

1913, Issue 1, Spring 2004.
The Poker, Issue 3, Fall 2003.
Chain #10: Translucinación, Fall 2003.
Studies in American Indian Literature, Spring 2003.
Stolen Island Review, Spring 2002.
First Intensity Magazine, issues:3,4,7,9, 13, and 17
Iowa Review, vol.31, no.1, April 2001.
Cafe Review, Fall 2000
The Alembic, Spring 1998.
Mandorla, A Bilingual Journal, Numero 4, 1995.
Dang Tien (Today), Chinese Comtemporary Poetry and Translation, Hong Kong, 1993
Blue Mesa Review No 3, Rudolfo A. Anaya (Editor), University of New Mexico Press.

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This is an "official" site in that this page was constructed with the assistance and active collaboration of the poet, James Thomas Stevens.

© 1998 James Thomas Stevens and Karen Strom.

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