Laura Tohe is Sleepy-Rock People clan and born for the Bitter Water People clan. A poet and librettist, she grew up at the base of the Chuska Mountains in Crystal, New Mexico, and is the author of Tseyí / Deep in the Rock (University of Arizona Press, 2005), which received the Arizona Book Association’s Glyph Award for Best Poetry and Best Book; No Parole Today (West End Press, 1999), which was named Poetry Book of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers; and Making Friends with Water (Nosila Press, 1986).
Tohe is also the author of Code Talker Stories (Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2012) and co-editor of Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers on Community (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2002). The Phoenix Symphony commissioned her to write the libretto for Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, which made its 2008 world premiere as part of the Phoenix Symphony’s sixtieth anniversary. Her recent libretto, Nahasdzaan in the Glittering World, will make its next performance in Grenoble and Havre, France in 2021.
She is the recipient of the Arizona Humanities Dan Schilling Public Scholar Award, the 2019 American Indian Festival of Words Writer’s Award, and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Award. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction at Arizona State University and the current poet laureate of the Navajo Nation.