ALAMEDA -- Books Inc. and Alameda Island Poets will feature noted Cherokee poet, prose writer and visual artist Kim Shuck from 7 to 9 p.m. June 5.
Shuck holds a master's in fine arts in textile arts from San Francisco State University and has shown her work in Taiwan, Columbia, Spain, England and all over the United States.
Her first book of poetry, "Smuggling Cherokee" won the Diane Decorah first book award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.
She has also been given a Mary Tall Mountain award for activism and writing excellence, a Wordcraft Circle mentor award for her work with young writers, and is a recipient of a KQED Local Hero award.
Shuck will be reading from her most recent book, "Rabbit Stories," which was on the Small Press Distribution bestseller list in fiction during the first month of publication.
"'Rabbit Stories' is a collection of vignette fiction that follows the same characters throughout the book," Shuck said. "My goal in writing this book, was to write about a mixed-race, urban woman who wasn't tragic in some way, but who is happy and not disconnected from native tradition."
This compilation of stories gives the reader short glimpses into the life of a Cherokee woman's day-to-day life.
She moves the reader back into time, when she was a very young girl, into adolescence then back to childhood, then into the present as a mature artist and writer.
Her verse is poetic, descriptive, sensitive and sensual. Her description of the natural world of plants, sunlight, the sounds of water and cicadas in summer evoke memories long buried for many of us.
Shuck is also a founding member of the de Young Museum's Native Arts Advisory Board.
"I'm very proud of the fact that we've had hundreds of living native artists and poets showing artwork and reading poetry in the de Young Museum," she said. "I'm proud of this achievement because it's always easier for native artists to get shown in anthropology museums rather than contemporary art galleries. We're here and we're working in a contemporary, modern way. My books of poetry always end up in the Native American section of bookstores rather than in poetry or fiction, yet I'm not writing anthropology or history."
The book cover of "Rabbit Stories" is designed by Michael Horse and is an example of ledger art. In this cover, the artist has chosen paper with commodities food records dated 1908 from a town in Oklahoma where the author's family lived.
For Shuck, this image says, "that our stories feed us one way and possibly better than the white flour, canned meat and lard that replaced our traditional diets."
Shuck's artwork can be seen at www.kimshuck.com.
Books Inc. is at 1344 Park St., Alameda.