Eric Feuerborn

Internationally Known Poet Returns to Campus March 24

Monday, March 9, 2009

Southern Cheyenne Nation member and internationally known poet Lance Henson is scheduled to present his poetry March 24 at 7 p.m. in Gary Hall on the campus of the University of Science and Arts. Henson is a 1972 graduate of the college and was named to the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2004.

The poetry reading is free and open to the public. Gary Hall is located on the southeast corner of 17th and Alabama in Chickasha.

"I believe it is a great opportunity to have a poet of Lance Henson's caliber on campus. His scope of work honors the education he received during his time at the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts (now USAO)," said Julie Bohannon, director of alumni development. "I truly hope that the community will take advantage of his time on campus and attend the poetry reading." The USAO Office of Alumni Development is sponsoring the presentation.

Henson has an international reputation with 28 published books of poetry -- half in the United States and half abroad. His poetry has been translated into 25 languages. He has read and lectured in nine countries.

His career as a poet began while he was a student at OCLA when he published his first book, Keeper of Arrows, in 1971.

Born in Washington, D.C., he was reared on a farm near Calumet. He grew up living in the Southern Cheyenne culture. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps after high school in Vietnam. After graduating from OCLA, Henson earned a master's of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Tulsa. A Ford Foundation Fellowship supported his attendance at TU.

After 10 years of conducting poetry workshops through the Artist in Residence program of the State Arts Council of Oklahoma, Henson began to travel -- working in both the United States and Europe.

In 1993, Henson represented the United States Information Service as a Featured Lecturer in Singapore, Thailand, New Guinea and New Zealand. He also has represented the Southern Cheyenne Nation with the European Free Alliance in Leeuwarden, Netherlands and at the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Conference in Geneva in 1988.

His readings include the One World Poetry Festival in Amsterdam, the International Poetry Festival in France and the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival in New Jersey. He has co-written two plays -- one of which, Winter Man, had a successful run at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Company.

He was selected for a residency at the Smithsonian Institution through the Distinguished Native American Scholars program. He was also a resident at the Millay Colony for the Arts in 1995, poet-in-residence at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and in residence at the Mad River Theater in Ohio -- where his play Coyote Road was performed. The play was co-authored with Jeff Hooper.

Henson was awarded a metal of honor from the Partisans Organisation in Italy in 2000. He had two books, Cheyenne Sketchbook and Another Distance, place among the five poetry finalists in the 1992 Oklahoma Book Awards sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

He is a member of the Native American Church, the American Indian Movement and the Cheyenne Dog Soldier Society. He has participated in the Cheyenne Sun Dance on several occasions as both a dancer and painter.