Lawton native Momaday named Poet Laureate for Centennial

Oklahoma City_Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry on Thursday as Oklahoma Centennial State Poet Laureate.

"In this year of our centennial celebration, our poet laureate is not only a bona fide Oklahoma treasure, but an American treasure," Henry said.  "Scott Momaday's vision, artistry and genius continue to inspire and move readers throughout the world."

Momaday, a novelist, poet, playwright and artist, won the Pulitzer in 1969 for his first novel, "House Made of Dawn." 

Momaday, who has read poems at Henry's two inaugurations as governor, retired to Santa Fe, N.M. after a career of writing and teaching at universities, the last in Tucson at the University of Arizona.  A Kiowa Indian, the new poet laureate has written extensively about Indian traditions and culture.  He was born in Lawton and grew up on reservations. His mother was a writer and his father was a painter.

He said he moved back a year ago to Oklahoma, where he and his wife, Barbara, have an apartment in downtown Oklahoma City.

Other celebrated works include "The Way to Rainy Mountain" in 1969, "The Gourd Dancer" in 1976, "Ancient Child" in 1989, "In the Presence of the Sun" in 1992 and "In the Bear's House" in 1999.