Blood red stains Jersey and New York trails, escape routes used for centuries with runaway Africans. From this sunrise ocean homeland spread people’s stories— diasporas through five centuries of Spanish, Swedes, Dutch, English, and United States settlers. Blood red spreads from the massacres—at Pavonia where the Dutch murdered their own mixed children. In Ohio, the militia murders pacifist Lenape Christians. Blood passes through mothers’ red wombs to landless children my grandfather, his parents and theirs. Descendants remain in mountains of Ramapough, in the Appalachians of Pennsylvania, and Ohio in Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Canada, Idaho. Still alive, hearts beating red blood. I acknowledge with respect the living Lenape and Munsee people— all the lands where they dance.
Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other recent books are a collection of essays, Jigsaw Puzzling (Meadowlark Press) and a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press) Wing (Red Mountain, a Hefner Heitz finalist), and A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press). Her Jackalope, fiction from Red Mountain, was acclaimed by Pennyless (U.K.), American Book Review, and New Letters. She has won 4 Kansas Notable Book Awards and recognition from the Poetry Society of America, The Circle -Best Native American Books, and NEH. She is a founding board member of Indigenous Native Poets (In-Na-Po), which sponsors retreats for emerging poets, including a 2022 celebration of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo at the Library of Congress. She founded the Creative Writing Program at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she taught and was an administrator. Low has an MFA from Wichita State U. and Ph.D. from KU. She lives on Tsuno Mountain in northern California. www.deniselow.net
Guest Editor Shibazrule, aka Lisa D. Chavez, is a poet based in New Mexico. Her poetry books include Destruction Bay (West End Press) and In An Angry Season. (University of Arizona Press). She also writes memoir and fiction, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico. She’s delighted to have the opportunity to be Guest Editor here at The Coop for the month of August.