- Dennis Holt
Dennis Holt Born October 6, 1942
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Poet & linguist Years active 1962-present
Born in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, Holt graduated from Van Nuys High School in Los Angeles in 1960. Holt subsequently attended the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, and UCLA, from which he received the Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1986. From June 1966 until November 1969, he served in the Peace Corps in Bolivia, working with cooperative coffee-processing plants in the province of Nor Yungas, and later teaching English as a second language at the Instituto Anglo-Americano in Oruro.
As a poet, in addition to the dissemination of his own poems and translations through public readings and publication in journals and anthologies, Holt has been active as an impresario of poetry-readings and other literary events; and, for a total of five years, he produced a weekly poetry-hour, over radio-stations in Santa Barbara, California ("Damselflies & Hummingbird Pounds", KCSB, 1983–1986), and Bristol, Rhode Island ("Lingering in Deep Pools", WQRI, 1989–1992). With Dawne Anderson, Henry Gould, and others, he was one of the founders of the Poetry Mission in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1991, and subsequently served as treasurer of that organization, as well as co-editor, with Anderson, of its associated magazine, Northeast Journal (subsequently transmogrified into Nedge and edited by Gould). In 2003, following his dismissal from the University of Montana, Holt opened a bookstore and art-gallery in Missoula, Quetzalcoyotl Books & Art, which he operated for five months.
Since 1978, Holt has produced and published occasional samizdat bardic broadsheets under various titles, including Some Bard's-Eye Views from Santa Cruz, Le Missoulambator, La Fogata Cruceña, The Quincunx, and others. In 1979, he published one issue of a literary-artistic journal, Onicnomachitocac, which included poetry, prose, & drawings by five others plus himself.
Holt's linguistic research has primarily been directed toward the description of endangered languages of Latin America, including Pech, Tol, and Sumu of Honduras, and Tepecano and Sayula Popoluca of Mexico. In the 1970s, he began formulating a hypothesis that proposes a genetic relationship between the Uto-Aztecan and Chibchan language-families. This hypothesis has not yet been generally accepted among linguists. For 10 years, Holt served as secretary-treasurer of the Endangered Language Fund, from its founding, in 1996, until 2006; he also designed the logo of the organization, which, with some additional stylization, is still used.
As an educator, Holt has taught language-related courses at a number of institutions of higher learning in the U.S., including Southern Connecticut State University, Roger Williams University, Central Connecticut State University, Southeastern Massachusetts University (now the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth), Quinnipiac University, and the University of Montana. At the last of these he was suspended and ultimately fired for using his classroom podium as an opportunity to rant against the Iraq War and President George W. Bush during a linguistics-class on March 21, 2003.
Selected published works
- Windings: Poems & Fragments, 1962-1972. Venice, California: Privately published, 1973.
- "From a Sequoia Journal". Onicnomachitocac 1 (Fall 1979).
- "Last Chance". Forehead 2 (1990).
- "Yuki In Albuquerque". Fairfield Review, Summer 2000.
- "Deputizable Imputations del Riaje San Joaquín". Exquisite Corpse 10 (October 2000). 
- Venice Thirteen. Venice, California: Beyond Baroque, 1972.
- Linguistic Muse. Donna Jo Napoli and Emily Norwood Rando, eds. Carbondale, Illinois: Linguistic Research, 1979.
- Discovered Tongues: Poems by Linguists. William Bright, ed. San Francisco: Corvine Press, 1983.
- Meliglossa. Donna Jo Napoli and Emily Norwood Rando, eds. Edmonton, Alberta: Linguistic Research, 1983.
- The Development of the Paya Sound-System. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1986.
- Tol (Jicaque). Languages of the World/Materials 170. Munich: LincomEuropa, 1999.
- Pech (Paya). Languages of the World/Materials 366. Munich: LincomEuropa, 1999.
- "La lengua paya y las fronteras lingüísticas de Mesoamérica" (with William Bright). Las fronteras de Mesoamérica: XIV Mesa Redonda, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 23–28 de junio 1975, 1:149–56. México: Sociedad Mexicana de Antropología,1975.
- "Evidence of Genetic Relationship Between Chibchan and Uto-Aztecan." In K. Whistler et al., eds. Proceedings of the Third Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 283-92. Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1977.
- "On Paya Causatives." Estudios de Lingüística Chibcha 8: 7-15. San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1989.
- ^ Wendy Griffin, "Learning to Write Honduras' Unwritten Languages", Honduras This Week, February 23, 1998 
- ^ "Evidence of Genetic Relationship Between Chibchan and Uto-Aztecan." In K. Whistler et al., eds. Proceedings of the Third Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 283-92. Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1977.
- ^ http://www.endangeredlanguagefund.org/about_logo.html
- ^ http://www.metrosantacruz.com/metro-santa-cruz/01.21.09/news-0903.html
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