Writing a book of poetry is a lonely endeavor. I spent years jotting down lines after I put my son to bed or before my first class of the day. It could have gone on like that indefinitely had I not stumbled upon the support and community of Hugo House.
I have a vivid memory of sitting in a class on history and poetry. I was still in the woozy, sleep-deprived haze of new motherhood, but the course was so dynamic that it compelled my attention. At the end of one class, I started writing a long sequence about my Shawnee ancestors that would become the centerpiece of my first book. I often wonder what would have happened to my writing life had I not had the good fortune to be sitting in that particular classroom all those warm summer afternoons.
As a Made at Hugo House Fellow, I was transformed by the compassion and skill of my cohort of fellow writers. I continue to rely on this community of learners and teachers and am deeply grateful for Hugo House’s investment in my artistic growth.
Laura Da’ is a poet and a public school teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts. Da’ is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Da’ is a recipient of a 2015 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship. Her first chapbook, The Tecumseh Motel, was published in Effigies II, and the University of Arizona Press published her first full-length manuscript, Tributaries, in 2015.