A Radiant Curve: Poems and Stories

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In this sixth collection of stories and verse, award-winning writer Luci Tapahonso finds sacredness in everyday life. Viewing a sunset in a desert sky, listening to her granddaughter recount how she spent her day, or visiting her mother after her father's passing, she finds traces of her own memories, along with echoes of the voices of her Navajo ancestors. The collection also includes an audio CD of the author reading aloud and her voice is warm and inviting, like the “simmering soup and blue corn meal” of her childhood.

These engaging words draw us into a workaday world that, magically but never surprisingly, has room for the Diyin Dine’é (the Holy People), Old Salt Woman, and Dawn Boy. When she describes her grandson’s First Laugh Ceremony—explaining that it was originally performed for White Shell Girl, who grew up to be Changing Woman—her account enriches us and we long to hear more. Tapahonso weaves the Navajo language into her work like she weaves “the first four rows of black yarn” into a rug she is making “for my little grandson, who inherited my father’s name: Hastiin Tsétah Naaki Bísóí.”

As readers, we find that we too are surrounded by silent comfort, held lovingly in the confident hands of an accomplished writer who has a great deal to tell us about life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Tapahonso’s newest poetry collection, A Radiant Curve, confirms her place near the top of any list in American literature." —Studies in American Indian Literatures"Tapahonso celebrates the everyday acts, rituals, and stories that draw people together across the years and across the distances of cultural dispersion." —Library Journal
Library Journal

In her sixth collection of poems and stories, Tapahonso celebrates the everyday acts, rituals, and stories that draw people together across the years and across the distances of cultural dispersion. An extended family gathers to celebrate a baby's first laugh, which also becomes an occasion to revisit the larger story of creation. Stories from the "long time ago file" are retold at family funerals in two languages-Navajo and English-leading to a punch line about an old pair of boots. Other objects have their own stories to tell. A fine, small poem called "Journey of Turquoise" imagines the travels of a favorite ring, brought back by a lover for his beloved. On the poet's hand in Tucson, the turquoise ring "radiates this journey we take together," encompassing the reader in that "radiant curve." In 2006, Tapahonso received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Her latest collection is recommended for public and university libraries and will be of particular interest for libraries in the American Southwest.
—Sue Russell

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816527090
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 10/17/2008
  • Series: Sun Tracks Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 980,833
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Luci Tapahonso is the author of many books, including Blue Horses Rush In and Sáanii Dahataal: The Women Are Singing. She is Professor of American Indian Studies and English at the University of Arizona and in 2006 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.
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Table of Contents

The beginning was mist 1

The warp is even: taut vertical loops 3

The Holy People lived here 5

A Radiant Curve 7

I Remember, She Says 21

Old Salt Woman 23

New Boots 25

The Holy Twins 31

Festival of the Onion 33

Far Away 37

I bought an old ts'aa' 39

That American Flag 41

A Blessing 45

Late This Morning 49

The Canyon Was Serene 51

Long ago 53

A Tune-Up 55

Red Star Quilt 65

Journey of Turquoise 67

Naneeskadi 69

Near-to-the-Water 71

Dawn Boy 73

Tomorrow I will drive to Shiprock 75

Tsilii 79

Elegy for My Younger Sister 81

K-Tag Ceremony 83

The round-roof hooghan 85

The Way to Tse Bit'a'i 87

We must remember 89

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