Bad Indian: Poems

J.C. Mehta

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  • Print ISBN: 978-1-941799-76-5
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-941799-77-2
  • Publication Date: April 7, 2020
  • 70 pgs; 5.5 in. by 8.5 in. matte paperback
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Bad Indian explores what it means to be Native American today through a series of raw, twisting poems imbued with a density of hope only survivors can realize. J.C. Mehta details the adversity of mixed ancestry, of what it means to be called a “Pretendian” by fellow Natives, and what a lifetime of being told “you look something” by everyone else brings to fruition—the realization of not fully belonging anywhere. Mehta delves into living with eating disorders, the victories and losses of loves great and small, and ultimately coming to terms and peace with her heritage. These poems are urgently needed, a buzzing meditation on finding your place in a hostile world.

About the Author



See J.C. Mehta in person at these upcoming events.


J.C. Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet and author of over one dozen books. She’s currently a poetry editor at Bending Genres Literary Review, Airlie Press, and the peer-reviewed Exclamat!on journal. During 2018–19, she was a fellow at Halcyon Arts Lab in Washington DC where she curated an anthology of poetry by incarcerated indigenous women and created “Red/Act,” a pop-up virtual reality poetry experience using proprietary software. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and native Oregonian, place and personal ancestry inform much of Mehta’s creative work.

Mehta’s novel The Wrong Kind of Indian won gold at the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). Mehta has also received numerous visiting fellowships in recent years, including the Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship at the Lilly Library at Indiana University at Bloomington and the Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship at The British Library. Visual representations of her work have been featured at galleries and exhibitions around the world including IA&A Hillyer in Washington DC and The Emergency Gallery in Sweden. Mehta is a popular speaker and panelist, featured recently at events like the US State Department’s National Poetry Month event, “Poets as Cultural Emissaries: A Conversation with Women Writers,” as well as the “Women’s Transatlantic Prison Activism Since 1960” symposium at Oxford University.

Mehta is also the owner of a multi-award-winning writing company and founder of the Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund, the only scholarship exclusively for Native Americans pursuing an advanced degree in writing. She has undertaken poetry residencies around the globe including at Hosking Houses Trust with an appointment at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her doctoral research focuses on the intersection of poetry and eating disorders.

Learn more about J.C. Mehta’s work at www.jessicamehta.com.