Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 425
Diane Glancy was born Helen Diane Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, to a Cherokee father and English-German mother. In her interview with Andrews, Glancy describes her mother as a “very hard, disciplined, punctual woman” and says she had “a lot of discomfort” with her. Glancy grew up aware that her mother disliked her father’s side of the family. As a child, Glancy experienced difficulty in attempting to reconcile her Cherokee background with representations of the Plains Indians taught to her in school, but she remembers her father explaining, “we were Indian.” In her primary education, Glancy learned that Plains Indians hunted buffalo and lived in teepees, yet her family farmed and was nothing like the Indians she learned about in school. Although she recognized that her father’s ancestry was not comparable to the Plains Indians presented in her schooling, this incongruence of Indian culture provided the basis of what has now become a theme of mixed identity, a subject that continues to permeate her work. Early in her life, she chose to redefine her identity as a Cherokee Native American, accepting the consequences and struggles inherent in claiming a Native American heritage.
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Glancy began to use poetry as a means of locating her own native voice. In 1964, Glancy earned a B.A. in English literature from the University of Missouri. That same year, she married Dwane Glancy, with whom she had two children, David and Jennifer. After being married for nineteen years, Glancy and her husband were divorced. Toward the end of her marriage, Glancy began graduate work at the University of Central Oklahoma, earning a master of arts in English in 1983. Her master’s thesis later became Lone Dog’s Winter Count.
Glancy’s first poetry collection, Brown Leaf Leaves the Res, and Other Poems, was published in 1984, followed by One Age in a Dream, winner of the Lake and Prairies Prize. As critical acclaim for Glancy began to heighten, she was granted a fellowship from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and earned a master of fine arts degree in 1988. The fellowship opened several doors for Glancy, including a faculty position at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she taught from 1989 to 2009. Glancy published the critically acclaimed collection Iron Woman in 1990 after it won the Capricorn Prize in 1988. She has continued to write poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She received the Cherokee Medal of Honor in 2001, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Missouri in 2003. In 2008-2009, Glancy was Visiting Richard Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College.