Esselen/Chumash poet Deborah A. Miranda’s 2002 groundbreaking essay “Dildos, Hummingbirds, and Driving Her Crazy” begins with a conversation about the erotic in a classroom – a conversation about private or intimate matters in a public space. […] Miranda’s essay focuses on a specifically lesbian indigenous erotics in the work of Menominee poet Chrystos. Her emphatic making public – in the sense of literary publication and political declaration – of private desires (as linked to national identity) lies at the heart of [Mayer’s] essay. Her essay places her own poetics of Indigenous sexuality in a community or continuum that includes Chrystos, Muskogee Creek poet Joy Harjo, and Anishinaabe poet Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, a communitarian model of imagining both literary and erotic culture that provides the methodology of this essay and that is emblematized in Miranda’s essay by a Utopian project: an anthology of Indigenous erotica being collected by Akiwenzie-Damm.
By Sophie Mayer, 2008