Former Lady Monarch Natalie Diaz Gives Poetry Reading at Virginia Beach Center

April 19, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

April 19, 2012

Old Dominion graduate Natalie Diaz will give a reading from her first book of poetry, "When My Brother Was an Aztec," from 12:30-2 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center. (She will also be at the University Village Bookstore from 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, to sign copies of her book. Her bookstore appearance will not include a reading.)

Diaz's National Poetry Month presentation at VBHEC will be streamed live to ODU Tri-Cities and ODU Peninsula Centers. The reading will be followed by a reception and book signing, with book sales provided by the bookstore. The reading is free and open to the public.

Diaz, who earned a bachelor's degree in 2000 and an M.F.A. in 2006 from ODU, was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, Calif. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, "Best of the West: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri," "The Speed Chronicles" and "Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas."

Her first book of poetry, "When My Brother Was an Aztec," will soon be published by Copper Canyon Press.

Diaz, who played basketball for the Lady Monarchs, played professionally in Europe and Asia for several years before earning her master's. She currently lives in Mohave Valley, Ariz., where she works with the few remaining speakers of Mojave to revitalize the language at Fort Mojave.

On April 18, Diaz will join three other graduates of the M.F.A. program in creative writing - Princess Perry, David Williamson and Lisa Hartz - for a presentation titled: "What I Wish I'd Known: 4 Alumni Writers on Working, Writing and Publishing." The free program is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. in the Learning Commons, Room 1310, at Perry Library. This presentation is sponsored in partnership with the M.F.A. creative writing program and Writers in Community. For more information go to

Hartz is founder and director of The Muse Writers center. She holds an M.A. in English writing from Hollins College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Miami, where she taught composition and creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, The GW Review, Bayou, miller's pond and other publications. Hartz is also a freelance writer in history and the arts. At The Muse, she has led workshops and studios in memoir, fiction and poetry. She also develops new courses and recruits and manages The Muse faculty.

Perry earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from ODU in 1998. Most recently, her short story "A Penny, A Pound" garnered an honorable mention in The Common Review's first Short Story Prize and was a finalist for the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction in 2011. Additionally, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010. Perry is also a past winner of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award, as well as a winner of a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship. Her work has twice appeared in the journal African American Review, as well as Harrington Gay Men's Literary Journal and, most recently, online in Kweli Journal. Perry is a lecturer of literature and composition at ODU.

Williamson works in the shipping industry and lives with his wife and two children in Virginia Beach. His fiction has been published in Fiddleblack, C4 and 5x5. He holds an M.F.A. in fiction from ODU and has served on the editorial staff for The Florida Review and Barely South Review. His original screenplay, "Colby," won the 2010 Virginia Screenwriting Competition. Williamson is currently at work on his first novel for middle-grade readers.

This article was posted on: April 18, 2012