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PoetrySnaps! Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe: Dinétah

Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe
Courtesy Laura Tohe
Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe

Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe has been shaped by the landscape and culture she was born into. She was raised in Fort Defiance, Arizona, the daughter of a Code Talker. Diné traditions like weaving, ceremony and reverence for the land figure prominently in her work. In this week’s segment of PoetrySnaps! Laura Tohe shares with us Dinétah, a sweet love poem for the earth.

Laura Tohe:


The silver breath of a thousand horses
and it is only yours that I seek.
I happily step over into existence,
into our canyons,
our rivers,
our mountains,
our valleys.
Sky beauty above and
earth beauty below.
Oh, how I’ve missed you.
To think I was away for so long,
and you were always there
waiting on the red earth
to open yourself
and offer to carry my burden.

About the poet:
Laura Tohe is an Arizona-based poet and the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She is of the Sleep Rock People clan and born for the Bitter Water People clan. Tohe is the daughter of a Navajo Code Talker. She’s authored three poetry collections, numerous librettos, an anthology of Native women’s writing, and an oral history on the Navajo Code Talkers. Tohe’s awards include the 2020 Academy of American Poetry Fellowship and the 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers Award. She is a professor emerita with distinction at Arizona State University.

About the host:

Steven Law is a poet, journalist and educator based in Page, Arizona. He is the author of a collection of poems called Polished.

About the music:

Original music by Flagstaff-based band Pilcrowe.

PoetrySnaps! is produced by KNAU, Arizona Public Radio and runs the first and third Fridays of each month.

Steven Law was the co-producer of KNAU’s series PoetrySnaps!
Gillian Ferris was the News Director and Managing Editor for KNAU.