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Deborah A. Miranda


An enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of California, poet Deborah Miranda was born in Los Angeles to an Esselen/Chumash father and a mother of French ancestry. She grew up in Washington State, earning a BS in teaching moderate special-needs children from Wheelock College in 1983 and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Washington. Miranda’s collections of poetry include Raised by Humans (2015); Indian Cartography: Poems (1999), winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial First Book Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas; and The Zen of La Llorona (2005), nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Miranda also received the 2000 Writer of the Year Award for Poetry from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Her mixed-genre collection Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (2013) won a Gold Medal from the Independent Publisher's Association and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan Award.   Miranda’s poetry is informed by her mixed-blood ancestry and knowledge of the natural world. Often focused around gender, her poetry treats topics such as mothering and the ability to nurture in a violent world. The Zen of Llorona references the legend of La Llorona, or the Weeping Woman, an Indian woman who bears children to a Spaniard; when betrayed, she kills the children and then lives a life of mourning.   Miranda’s work has appeared in the anthologies Through the Eye of the Deer (1999), This bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation (2002), The Dirt Is Red Here: Art & Poetry from Contemporary Native California (2002), and Women: Images and Realities—A Multicultural Anthology (2006).   She teaches English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

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