Ray Young Bear

Ray Young Bear

1971 - 1973
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Ray Young Bear reading, Live from Prairie Lights

Prairie Lights Bookstore
15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City Iowa

Ray Young Bear reads from his definitive new poetry collection, Manifestation Wolverine at Prairie Lights Bookstore on November 13, 2015.

Hailed by the Bloomsbury Review as “the nation’s foremost contemporary Native American poet” and by Sherman Alexie as “the best poet in Indian Country,” Ray Young Bear draws on ancient Meskwaki tradition and modern popular culture to create poems that provoke, astound, and heal.



The Writing University archives, The University of Iowa Libraries: https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/islandora/object/ui%3Avwu_3749


Ray Young Bear Reads at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Iowa Writers' Workshop (Dey House)
507 North Clinton Street, Iowa City, Iowa

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop has sponsored and hosted Ray Young Bear for many events, lectures and readings at the University of Iowa over the years. Newspaper articles, newsletters and event listings include mentions of his appearances at the Workshop, like this from an archived 2001 newsletter:

Readers sponsored by the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Prairie Light bookstore and the International Writer’s Program this semester include Ray Young Bear.

“Readings: Fall 2001.” Iowa Writers’ Workshop Newsletter (2001): 9.


Ray Young Bear reads at the Jefferson Building

The Jefferson Hotel
129 E. Washington St. (Current Jefferson Building)

On April 10th 1989, Ray Young Bear gave a talk and reading for the event ‘Creative Expressions: Poetry and Prose’ at 7:30 p.m., in the Jefferson Building on the University of Iowa campus.

Other participants in the event included Alurista, the Chicano poet and recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship; Melba Joyce Boyd, the Afro-American poet and Fulbright Scholar; James Galvin, member of the Writers’ Workshop faculty; Ron Milner, Detroit playwright and winner of several awards including the Rockefeller Creative Artist Award; Peter Nazareth, the GoanlEast African author ‘and Chairman of the International Writers’ Program; Lorenzo Thomas. major Award-winning Afro-American Poet; and Rowena Torrevillas, the award-winning Filipino short story writer and member of the International Writers’ Program staff.

“Cultural ‘mosaic’ topic for program.” Daily Iowan, 10, Apr. 1986, pp. 5B.


Ray Young Bear’s plaque on the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk

Ray Young Bear’s plaque on the Iowa Avenue Literary walk reads:

It is true,
It is true then,
I am a lonely
human being.

The lines are from his collection The Invisible Musician: Poems

Young Bear, Ray A. The Invisible Musician: Poems. Holy Cow! Press, 1990.

Ray Young Bear is the author of award-winning books of poetry and fiction, including Black Eagle Child and Remnants of the First Earth which received the Ruth Suckow Award. He is a tribal member of the Meskwaki Nation (Red Earth People) of central Iowa and is a tribal-affiliated writer who speaks, writes and thinks in his first language, Meskwaki. Young Bear attended the University of Iowa, Grinnell College, Northern Iowa University and Iowa State University.

His books of poetry include Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear (Open Road Media, 2015), The Rock Island Hiking Club (University of Iowa Press, 2001), The Invisible Musician (Holy Cow! Press, 1990), Winter of the Salamander: The Keeper of Importance (Harper & Row, 1980), and Waiting to be Fed (Graywolf Press, 1975), and his works of fiction include Black Eagle Child (University of Iowa Press, 1992) and Remnants of the First Earth (Grove Press, 1998).


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