An Interview With Adrian C Louis Essay

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An Interview With Adrian C. Louis Essay, Research Paper Source: Geronimo: a journal of politics and culture Geronimo: Adrian, how’d you get from Lovelock and Yerington, Nevada to Brown University? Adrian Louis: That’s a story that would take a long time to tell. After I graduated in ‘64 I went to University of Nevada-Reno for about a year and a half–flunked out. Partying. Then about ‘67 or ‘66 I just headed over to San Francisco and I went to Haight-Ashberry. I lived there for about a year and a half. I met this guy from Boston who became a real close friend of mine. I’d never been back there, so we just up and hitchhiked back there and I stayed there for a couple of years. I got involved with a woman from Providence, Rhode Island, and I followed her down there

and this led into other things. Then I decided to go back to school and I knew some people who were teaching at Brown and they got me in and I resumed my education there. Got my degree and then I went into their creative writing graduateprogram. GO: After you got out of Brown? AL: After I got out of Brown I took a job in LA. as an editor of an Indian newspaper. That was ‘83, 84, I guess. I stayed there a year, a year and a half. Then I got in touch with this guy named Tim Gaigo. He had a newspaper in Pine Ridge and he asked me if I would come out here and run his paper. I ended up coming out here and working for him for a year. That was in ‘85, I guess. And then from there I started teaching at the college. GO: When did you start writing poetry kind of seriously? AL: I guess

when I was in high school. I had a poem published centuries ago, like that. My first poem was published in 1963. So, I was a junior in high school. GO: What drew you to that? AL: I had an interest in writing, and that interest came from a teacher I had in high school who was an Indian. So he turned me on to it. GO: What do you think you major influence is in your poetry. AL: I don’t know. I guess a part of me thinks we all kind of spring from Emerson and the Transcendental tradition. But as far as Indian writers go, I never really was influenced by any of them. When I was growing up there weren’t that many to people to read. GO: Are you teaching these days? AL: No, I’m not. For the past three years I was on a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fellowship. Each of those three

years I worked with the college and teach a one week creative writing workshop in the summer, so that’s pretty much it. GO: You got a Wurlitzer out here didn’t you. AL: Yeah, that was years ago, 1974 or ‘75. I was only out there for two or three weeks. I was sick from the altitude there. (Pause) I don’t remember much about it, really. Going into Taos Pueblo. It’s kind of a really quiet place around there. I hear it’s changed since then. GO: Yeah. How do you compare Pine Ridge, say culturally. to where you grew up like Yerington or Lovelock? AL: It’s the same in a lot of ways. You have the same sort of dynamics. You have groups of Indians in the midst of poverty, and then you have the whites in the white community, and the two never seem to get along that well. You

know, until 1953 in Nevada they had what they call the Sundown Order. And the Indians had to be in off the street by dark. Kind of weird. GO:What’s it like up where you live now? AL: I’m in a small town, its probably about 1/3 Indian and 2/3 redneck. Its just a real rural backwater small town. GO: Do you see yourself working in some kind of tradition? AL: That’s a hard question. As far as forms go, I don’t use any traditional forms. I write pretty much in free verse. GO: You grew up in Nevada. What do you think about the issue of Indian gaming? AL: Oh, my God, that’s a can of worms. I think it helps certain tribes. I think on some level deep down I’m opposed to it. I grew up in Nevada and I’ve seen what gambling does to you. It’s all predicated on taking money