Miranda Collection for Native American Library Acquisitions at W&L
W&L’s Miranda Honored with New Library CollectionThe Miranda Collection for Native American Library Acquisitions will feature books by Native American and Indigenous authors and literature on relevant topics.
By Erica Turman May 10, 2021
The University Library at Washington and Lee recently announced a new collection in honor of Deborah Miranda, Thomas H. Broadus, Jr. Professor of English, who will retire in 2021.
The Miranda Collection for Native American Library Acquisitions at W&L was announced for the first time as a surprise to Miranda at her recent poetry reading on campus. Books purchased for the collection will receive a bookplate that notes they are a part of the Miranda Collection, which will be searchable in the library’s catalog.
“The University Library is indebted to Professor Miranda for her many years of working with us to grow our collection of books by Native American and Indigenous authors and on relevant topics,” said K.T. Vaughan, Hal F. and Barbra Buckner Higginbotham University Librarian. “She has been a reliable and graceful partner in recommending titles and authors that supported her teaching, learning and scholarship at W&L, and that of her students and colleagues.”
“I am very excited about the library’s new collection named in my honor,” Miranda said. “The thought of W&L creating a collection that specifically addresses Native American cultures, issues and literatures is not something I had ever dreamed would happen. To have it named for me is beyond that.”
In addition to her teaching at W&L, Miranda is recognized worldwide for her poetry, which is informed by her ancestry and knowledge of the natural world. Often focused around gender, her poetry addresses topics such as mothering and the ability to nurture in a violent world. Growing up, Miranda says books were a savior to her in their own right.
“For as long as I can remember, books have been my lifeline. I grew up in libraries,” Miranda said. “Books got me through many a rough night and many a long weekend.”
Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of California. Miranda’s collections of poetry include “Raised by Humans,” “Indian Cartography: Poems” and “The Zen of La Llorona.” She has also contributed to multiple poetry anthologies.
Despite her love for books, Miranda said the thing missing from her childhood was literature that reflected her own ancestry and culture.
“Most of my Native literature students haven’t read anything by an Indigenous author when they reach my classes, and Leyburn Library is a keystone for their research,” Miranda said. “I think that’s the real reason I’m so excited about this new collection. The thought that future students will have access to materials they need and don’t know they need. It’s going to be a huge help in maintaining the work that Professor Harvey Markewitz and I, and a few others, have done in teaching Indigenous cultures at W&L. This collection will provide some traction for continuing that necessary work. The future is Indigenous – making sure our students are prepared for that, even after Harvey and I retire, makes me very happy.”
“How to Love the Burning World”
Washington and Lee University will host a public reading with Deborah Miranda, the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English, on April 26 at 6 p.m. The title of her talk, “How to Love the Burning World,” is also the title of the first poem in her new book, “Altar for Broken Things,” which explores interlocking themes of sacrifice, willing and forced, and the sacred dimension of nature and the need for healing. The talk is free and open to the public to view online. Miranda’s poetry is informed by her ancestry and knowledge of the natural world. Often focused around gender, her poetry treats topics such as mothering and the ability to nurture in a violent world.