Jake Skeets, former undergraduate of UNM from Vanderwagen, New Mexico, has recently been awarded Faculty of the Year by the American Indian College Fund. Graduating from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe with an MFA, Skeets’s poetry has been featured in the Boston Review and Waxwing, and has won the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Earlier this year, Skeets was awarded $50,000 as the winner of the 2020 Whiting Award in Poetry from the New York-based Whiting Foundation, an organization that provides targeted support for writers, scholars, and the stewards of humanity’s shared cultural heritage.

Skeets’s debut book of poetry, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, was recognized by the National Poetry Series last year. It was also a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry and named “Best Poetry Book of 2019” by Electric Literature, Entropy Mag, and Auburn Avenue, “Favorite Book of 2019” by Lit Hub, and “Best Queer Book of 2019” by BuzzFeed and Book Marks. Skeets’s work uses stunning southwestern imagery and Navajo history that Milkweed Editions describes as “a debut collection of poems by a dazzling geologist of queer eros.”

As an assistant professor at Diné College, Skeets teaches a variety of composition, literature and creative writing courses in the college’s School of Arts, Humanities and English, as well as online courses. In addition to writing poetry and teaching, Skeets also edits the online publication Cloudthroat and organizes the Southwest-based poetry salon and reading series Pollentongue