Tim Amsden

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Articles, Biography, Memoir, Poetry, Other: Native Americans, Environment, New Mexico History and Natural History

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Tim Amsden’s work has appeared in Pudding Magazine, Poetry Ireland Review, Potpourri, Sin Fronteras, Out of Line, Rockhurst Review, New Mexico Magazine, Arabesques Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Istanbul Literature Review, The Newer York, Rattle, a Pima Press poetry anthology titled Lasting: Poems on Aging, and elsewhere.

His first full-length book of poetry, Vanishing Point, was published in 2012, and he edited and contributed to The Bear is My Father: Wisdom of a Muskogee Creek Caretaker of Sacred Ways which was published by Synergetic Press in 2022 and has since been published in Italian. His book Love Letter to Ramah: Living Beside New Mexico’s Trail of the Ancients was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2024.

He earned a J.D. from the University of Iowa, worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 24 years, and lives now in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Title: Love Letter to Ramah: Living Beside New Mexico’s Trail of the Ancients
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (September 1, 2024)
Genre: Memoir, Human and Natural History

“Amsden’s stories illustrate how his time in the Ramah area cultivated his deep sense of place and rekindled his belief in the sustaining power of a diverse human community. I highly recommend it as an introduction to this beautiful portion of the American Southwest and a heartwarming read for those of us still open to awe and connection.” ~ Carla R. Van West, former director of research, SRI Foundation

“A book of gentle wisdom and quiet inspiration. If you want to understand both the land and the culture of northern New Mexico, you couldn’t find a better source.” ~ Glenn Aparicio Parry, author of Original Politics: Making America Sacred Again

“Tim Amsden reveals a deep sense of the land and lore of that patch of paradise presently known as New Mexico, and he presents the reader with a wide range of insights into the nature of the ecology, cultural diversity, deep history, and exquisite beauty of the Southwest.” ~ Jack Loeffler, author of A Pagan Polemic: Reflections on Nature, Consciousness, and Anarchism

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University of New Mexico Press

Title: The Bear is My Father: Indigenous Wisdom of a Muscogee Creek Caretaker of Sacred Ways
Co-authors: Bear Heart and Reginah WaterSpirit
Editor: Tim Amsden
Publisher: Synergetic Press (January 11, 2022)
Genre: Native American Biographies

The Bear Is My Father: Indigenous Wisdom of a Muscogee Creek Caretaker of Sacred Ways is considered a love story between Bear Heart and a community that stretches across the globe. This book celebrates the life, teachings and legacy of Marcellus Bear Heart Williams, a Multi-Tribe Spiritual Leader and author of the critically-acclaimed The Wind is My Mother. Offering a mix of history and spiritual wisdom, The Bear is My Father is co-authored by Reginah WaterSpirit, Bear Heart’s Medicine Helper and wife of 23 years. When Reginah would ask Bear Heart exactly how he made his medicine, he always answered, “I don’t make the medicine, it was here before me. I’ve been entrusted to be a caretaker of certain sacred ways.”

Bear Heart (1918-2008), was a Muscogee Creek Native American Church Road Man with a talent for seeing people as individuals, and for making them feel seen and special in their own ways. The Bear Is My Father contains the final words Bear Heart wrote before his “going on” as well as contributions from friends and family whose lives were forever changed by Bear Heart’s presence and work. In this new book, Bear Heart uses stories of his youth and traditional medicine practices to convey lessons and knowledge about living in harmony and with respect for all.

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Title: Vanishing Point
Published: June 22, 2015
Genre: Poetry

The poems in this remarkable collection, like the miscellaneous objects in the museum that inspired the book’s arrangement, are as random and as revealing as life itself. As we turn the pages, we have a growing sense that every encounter, personal or public, playful or serious, reveals more than itself. A voice keeps asking, where am I in all this? That question soon becomes ours, as does the answer, though it remains unspoken until the final poem asks the question again and, in a voice expanding to include the whole earth and all its inhabitants, even the angels, proclaims the answer in the soaring last lines of a communal hymn. ~ Bob Longoni, former director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center

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