About the Author
Creation Myth
Playing Hide-and-Seek
    with Raven

The Indian Prophet
On Feet of Clouds
Song of the Rain
Prayer Singer
Zen Raven
A Sufficient Wisdom
Raven's Trans-Species
    Love Song

Squirrel Man
Muskrat Woman
Mountain Smoke

World Voices Home

The Literary Explorer
Writers on the Job
Books Forgotten
Thomas E. Kennedy
Walter Cummins
Web Del Sol

About the Author


John E. Smelcer is the author of thirty books. His nonfiction books include The Raven and the Totem (introduced by Joseph Campbell), In the Shadows of Mountains (introduced by Gary Snyder), A Cycle of Myths, and The Day That Cries Forever. In 1994, he edited the widely acclaimed anthology Durable Breath: Contemporary Native American Poetry. His work has appeared in hundreds of magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review, and The Literary Review. He served as executive director of the Ahtna Heritage Foundation, compiling and editing The Ahtna Noun Dictionary. He is the last shareholder who can read, write, and speak his Native language. He currently serves as the director of Chenega Native Corporation’s Language and Cultural Preservation Project. In 1998, he was nominated for the Alaska Governor’s Award for his preservation of Alaska Native languages and cultures. In 2004, he received an award from the Elihu Foundation of Chicago for his enduring contributions to Alaska Native people. Twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, his other poetry books include Changing Seasons (selected and edited by William Stafford); Songs from an Outcast (selected and edited by Denise Levertov), Without Reservation, Raven, Riversongs, The Indian Prophet and Loonsong. His novel, The Trap, received the James Jones Prize for the First Novel. His education includes advanced studies in English literature at Cambridge and Oxford.

To learn more about the poet, click on The site offers a free copy of his Ahtna Dictionary (as a PDF), as well as his Alutiiq dictionary