Rebecca Pelky, an assistant professor of film studies at Clarkson University, has published her second book. Through a Red Place is a story-in-poems that assembles her research into her Native and non-Native heritage in the land now known as Wisconsin. Through the poet’s ancestors—and documented through text and image—this book relates narratives of people who converged on and impacted this space in myriad ways. Written in English and Mohegan, Through a Red Place reshapes itself from page to page, asking what it means to navigate place as both colonizer and colonized. It builds a map between distances and lost stories to unearth and honor the past.
On writing Through a Red Place, the author says, “We don’t think of poetry as the product of rigorous research, but this collection is the result of long hours in the field and in archives. I hope aspects of the book will surprise people, but also that the questions it asks will be deeply relatable: who am I as the product of my ancestors? How do I fit into a specific place? I think those are questions many of us can identify with.”
Pelky will celebrate the book launch with an event on campus on November 11th, with a reading by the author, a book signing, and a reception.
Earlier this year, the book was awarded the Perugia Press Prize. This national award is given for first or second full-length books of poetry by women.
Rebecca Pelky is a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation of Wisconsin and a native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, and an MFA from Northern Michigan University. Through a Red Place is her second poetry collection; her first, Horizon of the Dog Woman, was published by Saint Julian Press in 2020.