Language: Ahtna

Translation Tuesday: Poems by John Smelcer

Featuring work by John Smelcer, who can read and write in Ahtna, one of the world's most endangered languages


Recipe for a Reztini

Two parts cheap gin or vodka

One part of your youth

Garnish with a strip of dried salmon or jerky

Shake it in the backseat of a Pontiac

doing 70 mph on Dead Man’s Curve



“The Lake,” by John Smelcer

Fiction from the last living Ahtna-language writer

“Let’s go get some water,” said the man with a coarse salt-and-pepper beard, grabbing his parka from a hook on the wall behind the wood stove.

“Can’t we do it tomorrow morning when it’s light outside?” replied the son, looking up from the book he was reading and then looking out the frosted window. “It’s pitch black out there.”

“No. Let’s do it now. Grab your coat.” READ MORE…