Online | Poetry | Workshop

8-Week Poetry Workshop: Decolonial Poetics

A course for anyone writing in an ancestral, heritage language, whether rematriating or culturally connected. This class will center Indigenous-language poetry to investigate questions of what is ours and how we can create bridges between the Western and Indigenous world, as the poet N. Scott Momaday advises.

Through using poetry in the process of Rematriation, this class investigates responsibility, reparations, allyship, and identity via ancestral connection and veneration. From exercises engaging with specific ancestors to bringing heritage language/s into poems, we will open up our poetics to strengthening by our ancestors, via craft elements of multilingual poetry.

For the first meetings, we’ll examine and discuss examples of various BIPOC and settler/European perspectives on what Rematriation comprises and what it offers to poetic practice. We’ll also do a writing prompt each class. On the third meeting, participants are invited to bring a family heirloom, document, or object representing one or more of their matrilineal ancestral culture/s (meaning: from one of the culture/s from which their mother, grandmothers or great-grandmothers first originated). Via writing prompts, we'll seek to explicate and deepen our understanding of the ways in which we hold connections to our matrilineal line/s, both through the concept of inheritance and dis/inheritance. In the final two weeks we’ll have student-led presentations of your work and the projects you’re hoping to do going forward.

Two full-ride scholarships will be provided to writers who either work with their Indigenous language, or who are otherwise BIPOC writers working with less-spoken ancestral languages. Writers working with languages considered to be at-risk receive priority. If you would like to apply or know someone else who would, please note that the application deadline will be March 21, with the writer’s bio and a 100-word statement on why taking this class is important to you sent to [email protected] with the subject line “Chelsea T. Hicks Class Scholarship.” 

Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  


- Learning and using ancestral languages in poetry strengthens personal and group identity as well as supports an attitude of radical respect toward other people and cultures.

- Anti-appropriative writing begins with strengthening one's own cultural awareness.

- Rematriation practices support a strong sense of human dignity across human difference.

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


In the first two weeks, students generate and receive informational examples, presentations and readings. Over the following six weeks, students submit and receive verbal & written feedback on two separate poetry packets. Over the eight weeks in total, poets can reference and examine readings as desired, in addition to weekly prompts/portals based off of poetic examples. The suggested poems per packet are at a lower number of 2-4, because this work is an emerging form, but if you have up to six poems you’d be welcome to submit up to that number per packet.


WEEK 1: Ancestral Veneration & Responsibility

WEEK 2: Rematriation (Anti-Appropriative Poetics)

WEEK 3: Multilingual Craft in the Americas

WEEK 4: Land Connection

WEEK 5: Language Connection

WEEK 6: Contemporary-Ancient Aesthetics

WEEK 7: Word, Form & Picture Play; Presentations

WEEK 8: Poem Presentations

Chelsea T. Hicks

Chelsea T. Hicks' writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Magazine , McSweeney's, Yellow Medicine Review, the LA Review of Books, Indian Country Today, Believer Magazine, The Audacity, The Paris Review and elsewhere. 'A Calm & Normal Heart' inspired by the Wazhazhe ie phrase, Nantse Wacpe, is her first book, out June 2022 from Unnamed Press. She is a citizen of the Osage Nation and her district is Waxakaolin or Pawhuska. She is a 2022-2023 Tulsa Artist Fellow and received a 2021 LIFT Award from the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation. She has taught writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where she received her MFA, and she also holds a master’s in creative writing from the University of California, Davis. She is a 2016 and 2017 Writing By Writers Fellow as well as a 2016 Wah-Zha-Zhi Woman Artist featured by the Osage Nation Museum.


"Hicks has an extraordinary sense of detail. She has a poet’s eye."

Virginia Smith

"As strong and supple as a new tree branch and I am smitten."

Nadxi Nieto

"So propulsive and smart and fun."

Brandon Hobson

"Chelsea T. Hicks’s warm, sharp, and searching debut is both a contemporary feat of decolonial poetics (which hopefully will inspire more and more works written in and translated from indigenous languages) and a closely observed, often wryly comic collection of short stories that feels as alively in-the-process-of-becoming as its singular characters: in Hicks’s deft words, its 'everyday heartbroken players of life.’"

Elaine Castillo author of AMERICA IS NOT THE HEART

“For me, her teaching style brings to light a challenge that is often quietly endured by all learners of Indigenous languages, providing a source of inspiration to overcome those barriers.”

Former student

"The manner [Chelsea] presented her curriculum inspired everyone to reach out to our individual communities ... brilliant and noteworthy."

Former student (Tewa Pueblo)

“I am so honored to have been able to participate in the learning communities she has helped foster and look forward to seeing how she continues to share her knowledge in community.”

Former student

“Gentle and consistent centering of ancestral language and roots creates openings and rooms for expressions that might not otherwise have been found.”

Former student

“She builds a safe space where we feel comfortable discussing the uncomfortable, such as trauma and coloniality. ... As a writer, professor, and researcher in the field of Indigenous Literatures myself, I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to build knowledge and to broaden the conversation on creative writing and literature with Hicks.”

Former student

“I deeply appreciate Chelsea's approach to teaching that balances sharing what inspires her continued growth and exploration, holding space for students to contribute their knowledge, and providing generative feedback that is both insightful and kind.”

Former student

“Chelsea is a very encouraging, knowledgeable, and helpful instructor. I felt very motivated to keep learning in her class and will carry many of the things she taught us beyond the classroom into my everyday learning.”

Former student

“Chelsea has a way of consistently encouraging growth! Her feedback was both inspiring and informative. Each session was engaging, and I left with more confidence to incorporate my own heritage language in writing than ever!”

Former student