Wilson featured in Sept. 28 poetry slam

Wilson featured in Sept. 28 poetry slam
The public is invited to attend a politically charged Vermillion Literary Project poetry slam with featured writer and activist Professor Norma Wilson.

Got strong feelings about the war in Iraq? About censorship? About the abortion ban? About the threat of yoga taking over everything? Come rant in poetic form at the next VLP poetry slam, on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m., at the Coffee Shop Gallery, 24 W. Main Street, downtown Vermillion.

Slam poets should bring at least three poems (the only weapons allowed are words). All viewpoints are welcome. Politically incorrect prizes (as usual) will be awarded! The poetry slam is a competition for poets.

For more information, visit the VLP slam page at http://www.usd.edu/orgs/projlit/vlpslam.cfm.

Much of Wilson's poetry has been influenced by life and politics in South Dakota. She is especially concerned about the dangers posed by uranium mining, nuclear waste, and other assaults on the environment.

She believes that the U.S. government should return public land in the Black Hills to the Lakota. She serves as political action chair of the Sierra Club's Living River Group.

She wrote Ballad for Karen Silkwood for a 1977 Supporters of Silkwood rally in Oklahoma City. The poem was included in her book, Wild Iris, published in 1978, a few months before she moved to Vermillion and began teaching American Indian literature and other courses in literature and writing at The University of South Dakota.

Inspired by America's indigenous authors, she believes in the power of words to affect change and that the personal is political. The Nature of Native American Poetry, her discussion of the development of native poetry, was published in 2001.

Some of her earlier poetry was inspired by her observations as a Witness for Peace in Nicaragua in 1987 and in Chiapas and Guatemala in 1992. More recent poems describe people and places experienced during a 2006 visit to Mexico.

Her poetry has been published in We Sing Our Struggle and other anthologies, and in magazines, such as North Dakota Quarterly, Vermillion Literary Project, and South Dakota Magazine.

Her poems have been displayed alongside visual art by the Oscar Howe Art Center, USD Galleries, and the Horse Barn Art Center. Based upon her published poetry, she was awarded a writing residency in 2002, by Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain. She has presented numerous readings.

After teaching for 27 years, Norma retired from USD as Emeritus Professor of English in 2005. She received the Doris Dodge Reconciliation Award from the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center in 2005 and was elected to that organization's board of directors in 2006. Recently she has been actively involved in the anti-war, Healthy Families, and anti-death penalty movements.

The Vermillion Literary Project is an award-winning student organization at The University of South Dakota that publishes an annual literary magazine and hosts a variety of literary events for the USD community and the general public. For more information, visit www.usd.edu/orgs/projlit.

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