Voices from the American Land

c. Rainey Hopson
c. Rainey Hopson

Joan Naviyuk Kane

Joan Naviyuk Kane

Click here to purchase Joan's chapbook,“The Straits”

Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife and Hyperboreal. She has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, the USA Projects Creative Vision Award, an American Book Award, the Alaska Literary Award, and fellowships from
the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Alaska Arts and Cultures Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and the School for Advanced Research. Kane was a Harvard National Scholar, and later a graduate Writing Fellow at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, she raises her children in Anchorage, Alaska, and is on the faculty of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

“I have been looking for the return of such a poet. Joan Kane crafts poems as meticulous as snowflakes. She is visionary and the poems carry this vision with solid grace.” — Joy Harjo, Mvskoke poet, musician, performer and writer

Illustrator Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson is an Inupiaq artist from the coastal village of Point Hope, Alaska. She has a degree in Studio Art from Humboldt State University in Northern California. Nasuġraq now lives in the Brooks Range of Arctic Alaska with her husband, young daughter, a small flock of chickens, and her four rambunctious working dogs. She enjoys everything creative, including writing, drawing, making jewelry, photography, gardening, and cooking. She also enjoys living a native lifestyle and will often disappear into the wilderness for days on end. c. Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson

Cover Illustration by Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson
You can see more of her work at

Salmonberry Thoughts

“Joan Naviyuk Kane is Inupiaq with family from King Island (Ugiuviak), Alaska, and her work reveals a hunger for the landscape, for a language embedded in the land and in the traditional lifeways of the people, her people, who have lived there. But Kane’s world extends beyond the boundaries of water and ice. The straits she navigates as a contemporary woman are churned by the pressures of multiple worlds. A Harvard graduate with a dazzling literary career, Kane writes with one foot in her cultural tradition and a second in the world of contemporary poetics. Her poems condense at the intersection of gender and race and power relations. With gorgeous, precisely honed language and arresting imagery, Kane interrogates love and displacement, identity and obligation, loss and home.”

— from the “Introduction” by Summer Wood

Summer Wood is the executive editor of Voices from the American Land and the author of two novels, Arroyo and Raising Wrecker.

Poem by Joan Naviyuk Kane:


Ledum, Labrador Tea, saayumik.
A matted growth beneath the most shallow
depth of snow on record in all our winters.

Pausing upbluff from the edge of ice
I broke from branches leaves to pin
between my teeth and tongue

until warmed enough for their fragrant
oil to cleanse you from me.

Somewhere in a bank of fog
beyond the visible end of open water,
alleged hills were windfeathered—

drainages venous. In routes
along the shore forever slipping
under, I am reminded — in the city

one finds it simple to conceive nothing
but a system, and nothing but a world of men.

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