Holy Land | Writing Holy Land | Review-Ewing


"There are places you should not go.  There are places where the night dawns black, where dark creatures grab and pinch and tear...Where the cursed and sacred mingle corrupted and corrupting, redeeming and redeemed, for one long night, and there is nothing you can do for us.  You can't even say good-bye."
Holy Land

 I say, this is my story.  Take it as warning.

In spring 2005, HOLY LAND was published in ALASKA QUARTERLY REVIEW.  Now, available in a book with the prize winning poem "Bridges."

"Today, I will show you this place. I will make an introduction. We will walk the boardwalks and we will visit the graveyard so you can learn."


"Sandra Kleven is an exciting talent who speaks with a voice that will not be stilled."  Esther Ewing, The Change Alliance

This gritty, passionate, monolog provides a dramatic introduction to Bethel, Alaska -- the hub of the 54 village, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.  The speaker is a Native man, who can see into the heart of the "helper" from Outside -- while bearing his own terrors.  

For a copy of HOLY LAND, signed by the author


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Click photo for author's homepage.

Kleven and others discuss a deep spirit in art

Anchorage Daily News - Kleven talks to reporter Lisa Demer

HOLY LAND read by Michael Bricker

Read by Michael Bricker.  
Recording/sound by Derek Tarr.  
April 5,2010


Recording "Holy Land" (studio), below



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"HOLY LAND strikes a nerve. Sandra Kleven’s unflinching and compelling dramatic monologue is a journey to a sacred and painful place in Bush Alaska’s human heart.” Ron Spatz, Editor, 

"Sandy Kleven's voice in HOLY LAND is so genuine, it feels as if she has pried open her own ribs and allowed these spirits to fill her, body and being."  

"...outside traditional genre divisions... 

Click the link, below, to go to a review of HOLY LAND

Esther Ewing The Change Alliance New York City

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 Great resource for:
  • developing writers - particularly those whose culture is underrepresented in a body of literature
  • cross cultural studies - especially when considering Native American and Alaska Native groups. 
  • college studies and training for social workers, psychologists, teachers and others. 
  • English classes - including English as a second language. 
  • creative writing classes
  • Alaska studies. 

Kleven was ten years out of Bethel, in 1997, when she wrote "Holy Land." 

She moved back to Bethel in 1998, to find out what the people would think.

Sandra Kleven’s poetry and other writing has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Topic Magazine (NYC) , Oklahoma Review and on Alaska Public Radio.

Also, by Kleven, THE RIGHT TOUCH: A Read-Aloud Story Book to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

The Right Touch



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Order a signed copy now. $8.95



In May, 2009, Kleven was the featured poet at the Spenard Jazz Festival, performing her poetry to jazz accompaniment.  Earlier in May, a new poem was published in the Oklahoma Review

In 2006 and 2009, Sandra Kleven received a Celebration Foundation grant to support her creative work.  The UAA/Alaska Daily News Creative Writing contest has chosen the work for recognition in poetry and non-fiction. Kleven writes for Bethel, Alaska’s, Delta Discovery, a weekly paper.  

Sandra Kleven has worked for almost thirty years in remote Alaska villages, often in the aftermath of suicide or the death of young children. Her writing is marked by her experience. 

Kleven is the author of two books, The Right Touch, a sexual abuse prevention story book, now the country’s bestselling prevention book for children. It has been published in Korea and will soon be published in China and India.   Holy Land, is a collection based on Kleven’s work in rural Alaska. 

In the final year of an MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, Kleven lives in Anchorage with her family.   Through her business, HeartWorks, Kleven supports emerging artists from Alaska’s villages and beyond.


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On APRN - Kleven discusses stories heard from elders in Hooper Bay, Alaska, that suggest the Russians were there far earlier than the historical record shows.

From Russia with Love - 8/26/06 

Russian's in Hooper Bay? - An interview of inquiry with with Father Oleksa, Neva Rivers,Yup'ik elder,and Lydia Black,anthropologist.  First piece on the program written and narrated by Sandy Kleven