Joseph Bruchac

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Poet Laureate of Saratoga Springs, New York, 2023–

Joseph Bruchac, a citizen and member of the Elders Council of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation, is a writer, musician, and traditional storyteller. A graduate of Cornell University, Bruchac also attended Syracuse University, where he earned his master’s degree, and the Union Institute of Ohio, where he obtained a PhD in comparative literature.

A best-selling author of many books in several genres, Bruchac’s most recent books include the poetry collection Voices of the People (Reycraft Books, 2022); A Year of Moons: Stories From The Adirondack Foothills (Fulcrum Publishing, 2022); the YA historical fiction novel Peacemaker (Dial Books, 2021); the novel Padoskoks (University of Oklahoma Press, 2020); and the children’s books Rez Dogs (Dial Books, 2022), One Real American: The Life of Ely S. Parker, Seneca Sachem and Civil War General (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2019), and Two Roads (Dial Books, 2018). 

Bruchac is the founder, editor, and publisher, with his late wife Carol, of the Greenfield Review Press, a pioneer in the publishing of Native American and African writers, and of bilingual English / Abenaki books through its Bowman Books imprint. He has also served on the editorial board of numerous other publications, including Epoch and Parabola magazines.

Bruchac’s many honors include a New York State Arts Council Poetry Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, an American Book Award, the Virginia Hamilton Award, the National Education Association Civil Rights Award, the National Wildlife Federation Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. He has also been awarded honorary doctorates from SUNY Potsdam, Wheelock College, and Middlebury College. 

Bruchac has been a guest author at schools in all fifty states, a storyteller in residence at the Onondaga Nation School and at the Institute of Alaska Native Arts, and served as poet in residence for three years at the Little Rock Zoo. He has been featured at various literary events in the United States and Europe, including the British Storytelling Festival, the Corn Island Storytelling Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, the Sierra Storytelling Festival in California, the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee.

In addition to teaching at Skidmore College, Hamilton College, the University at Albany (SUNY), and Columbia University, Bruchac was also a volunteer teacher in Ghana for three years and coordinated a college program at a maximum-security prison for eight years. Bruchac is currently the executive director of the Greenfield Review Literary Center and the Ndakinna Education Center, where he works with his two sons, offering programming in traditional Native crafts, outdoor education and survival skills, and Abenaki language classes as well as presenting lectures and events, such as the Saratoga Native American Festival.

In 2023, Bruchac was selected to be the inaugural poet laureate of Saratoga Springs, New York. In 2023, Bruchac received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship