Simon J. Ortiz

1941 –

Simon J. Ortiz, a poet, prose writer, editor, and children’s book author, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on May 27, 1941. He attended Fort Lewis College and the University of New Mexico for undergraduate studies. He received his MFA as an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa in 1969.

Ortiz’s books of poetry include: Light as Light (The University of Arizona Press, 2023); Out There Somewhere (The University of Arizona Press, 2002); Telling and Showing Her: The Earth, The Land (Just Buffalo Literary Center, 1995); Woven Stone (The University of Arizona Press, 1992); From Sand Creek: Rising In This Heart Which Is Our America (The University of Arizona Press, 1981), for which he received a Pushcart Prize; A Good Journey (Turtle Island Foundation and Netzahaulcoyotl Historical Society, 1977); Going for the Rain (Harper & Row, 1976); and Naked in the Wind (Quetzal/Vihio Press, 1971).

Ortiz has also published children’s books, memoirs, nonfiction, and short stories, and served as the editor of various books and anthologies. Most recently, these publications include Men on the Moon: Collected Short Stories (The University of Arizona Press, 2022); Speaking for the Generations: Native Writers on Writing (The University of Arizona Press, 2022); and The Good Rainbow Road (The University of Arizona Press, 2010), illustrated by Michael Lacapa.

Ortiz is a recipient of the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award, the New Mexico Humanities Council Humanitarian Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Discovery Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and was an Honored Poet at the 1981 White House Salute to Poetry. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Returning the Gift Festival of Native Writers.

Ortiz lives in Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, where he was lieutenant governor and a consulting editor of the Pueblo of Acoma Press. He has taught writing and Native American literature at various institutions, including the University of Toronto from which he retired.