Ray Young Bear
Born in 1950, Ray Young Bear was raised on the Meskwaki (Red Earth People) Settlement in central Iowa. He graduated high school in 1969, the year he began publishing poetry, and attended Pomona College from 1969 to 1971. He has also attended the University of Iowa, Grinnell College, Northern Iowa University and Iowa State University.
Young Bear’s books of poetry include Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear (Open Road Media, 2015); The Rock Island Hiking Club (University of Iowa Press, 2001); The Invisible Musician (Holy Cow! Press, 1990); Winter of the Salamander: The Keeper of Importance (Harper & Row, 1980); and Waiting to be Fed (Graywolf Press, 1975).
Young Bear is also the author of Black Eagle Child (University of Iowa Press, 1992) and Remnants of the First Earth (Grove Press, 1998), which received the Ruth Suckow Award as an outstanding work of fiction about Iowa.
Young Bear has received numerous honors and awards, including a 2016 American Book Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an honorary doctorate in letters from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. He has taught creative writing and Native American literature at The Institute of American Indian Art, Eastern Washington University, Meskwaki Elementary School, the University of Iowa, and at Iowa State University. Young Bear and his wife, Stella, also co-founded the Woodland Singers and Dancers.
Among his accomplishments, Young Bear cherishes the ability to speak and write in his first language. He presently lives on tribally-owned land that was established by his maternal grandfather, a hereditary chief, in 1856.