Native American Poets Playlist: Poems in the Gallery


Monday, October 14, 2019, 9:00am to 5:00pm

Repeats every day until Mon Oct 14 2019


Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge

A man listening to an MP3 player in the gallery.

In program marking Cambridge's Indigenous People's Day--celebrated as the federal holiday Columbus Day--eight Native American poets may be heard reading their work in the galleries. Enrich your museum visit by listening to an evocative recorded playlist of contemporary poems by Native American authors. Wander freely across the first-floor galleries to see where the poems take you and expand your understanding of Native arts and cultures. The poems, drawn from a powerful recent anthology, New Poets of Native Nations (edited by Heid E. Erdrich; Graywolf Press) celebrate Native poets first published in the twenty-first century. Hear the exhibits “come into voice” and experience the museum in a new way. Borrow a free audio player with regular museum admission.

Native American Poets Playlist: Poems in the Gallery will be available Saturday, October 12, 2019, through Monday, October 14, 2019. The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Featured Poems and Poets

Note: "Anasazi" is a Diné word sometimes translated as “enemies of our ancestors.” In the early-20th century, archaeologists applied this term to the ancestral Pueblo archaeological remains. Contemporary Pueblo people object to the use of "Anasazi,as the term has served to artificially separate them from the remains of their ancestors. The views presented in this poem and the others on the playlist represent those of the authors, not the views of the Peabody Museum or its staff, nor those of Harvard University.

New Poets of Native Nations will be available for purchase at the Peabody Museum's admission desk.

Jointly sponsored with the Harvard University Native American Program and the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University 


Bonus Historic Poem

Fable of the Fox and the Weasel, manuscript by Benjamin Larnell, circa 1711-1714. Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Fable of the Fox and the Weasel, manuscript by Benjamin Larnell, circa 1711-1714. Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Nipmuc student Benjamin Larnell (ca. 1694–1714) was the last colonial-era Native American student to attend Harvard. Like all students of the day, Larnell was required to speak and write Latin prose and verse before admission. In this poem, which was possibly used to gain entrance to Harvard, Larnell turned a fable by Aesop into Latin verse. Sadly, Larnell died before graduating. For more about colonial Native American Harvard students, see the exhibition Digging Veritas.

Listen to the “Fable of the Fox and the Weasel” by Benjamin Larnell, ca. 1711–1714. The poem is read in Latin, and then in English, by Richard Tarrant, Pope Professor of Latin Language and Literature, Emeritus. Translation by Thomas Keeline and Stuart M. McManus.

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