Iep Jeltok (yiyip jalteq). “A basket whose opening is facing the speaker.”
Said of female children, she represents a basket whose contents are made available to her relatives. Also refers to matrilineal society of the Marshallese.
“Iep jeltok ajiri ne” – You are fortunate to have a girl child.
- Marshallese English Dictionary
Iep Jeltok is one of my favorite Marshallese sayings and I use it here as an introduction for what I’m giving to the world through this blog: a basket full of writing and poetry.
My name is Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and I am a Marshallese poet, writer, performance artist and journalist.
I’ve started this blog as a way of sharing my poetry with the world, and to openly display my thoughts – through the good times and the bad times as I work towards shaping my first collection of poetry.
My poetry mainly focuses on raising awareness surrounding the issues and threats faced by my people. Nuclear testing conducted in our islands, militarism, the rising sea level as a result of climate change, forced migration, adaptation and racism in America – these are just a few themes my poetry touches upon. Besides these, I also use poetry as a means of understanding the people and the world around me.
Along with writing, I also love to perform. A lot of my poetry is performance based. I’ve competed in slam poetry competitions and performed at showcases, conferences, and various literature readings. I’ve also hosted open mics and written and performed my own solo piece.
Journalism is my side gig. I use it to promote the achievements of Marshallese people, and to promote my topics of interest. Many of my articles have been published online and in my home island’s newspaper The Marshall Islands Journal.
Should you have any questions, or are interested in publishing any of these works, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.