The Rainbow MinuteThe Rainbow Minute
Thursday, November 10, 2011
“Top Native American Poet, Maurice Kenny"
Maurice Kenny was born in upstate New York in 1929, his father a Mohawk Indian and his mother part Seneca. As a teenager, he began writing poetry, and at seventeen he closely identified with the works of Walt Whitman.
Kenny issued his first poetry collection at 28. About ten years later, in the late 1960s, he wrote, “First Rule,” which marked a return to the oral traditions of his native heritage.
During the 1970s, he published two collections that reflected his consciousness of his Native cultural heritage, and in other works he claimed his gay identity.
In 1987, Kenny was again focused on Walt Whitman, but not as a hero. He wrote a critique, titled, “Whitman’s Indifference to Indians,” in which he condemned Whitman’s silence on U.S.-Native American policies.
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