Baptism of Desire

Overview

A second book of poetry by Louise Erdich, author of the bestselling and award winning novels Love Medicine, The Beet Queen and Tracks.

Baptisim by blood, water, or desire is necessary for salvation in Roman Catholic tradition, and baptism of desire in the term used for the leap of trust by which a sincere believer can experience spiritual regeneration.Louise Erdrich's poems are acts of redemption. Everywhere evident is Erdrich's unique capacity for finding the perfect word, the ...

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Overview

A second book of poetry by Louise Erdich, author of the bestselling and award winning novels Love Medicine, The Beet Queen and Tracks.

Baptisim by blood, water, or desire is necessary for salvation in Roman Catholic tradition, and baptism of desire in the term used for the leap of trust by which a sincere believer can experience spiritual regeneration.Louise Erdrich's poems are acts of redemption. Everywhere evident is Erdrich's unique capacity for finding the perfect word, the fresh, yet absolutely right, metaphor that makes her wrk both profound and accessable.

The second book of poems by the bestselling author. A native American, Erdrich writes poems of redemption in clear, spare language.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
A significant voice...The dominant chord of Louise Erdrich's poetry is that of an instinctive acceptance of life's unknowable mysteries.
New York Times Book Review
Observant, tender and honest.
Detroit Free Press
Louise Erdrich gives a powerful vision of the broad stages that mark most women's lives: birth, maturation, marriage, motherhood, death...She gracefully weaves traditional religious imagery and the common moments in our lives.
San Francisco Chronicle
A significant voice...The dominant chord of Louise Erdrich's poetry is that of an instinctive acceptance of life's unknowable mysteries.
San Francisco Chronicle
A significant voice...The dominant chord of Louise Erdrich's poetry is that of an instinctive acceptance of life's unknowable mysteries.
Detroit Free Press
Louise Erdrich gives a powerful vision of the broad stages that mark most women's lives: birth, maturation, marriage, motherhood, death...She gracefully weaves traditional religious imagery and the common moments in our lives.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060920449
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/1990
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich lives with her family in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore. Ms. Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and this story—which will, in the end, span one hundred years in the life of an Ojibwe woman—was inspired when Ms. Erdrich and her mother, Rita Gourneau Erdrich, were researching their own family history. Chickadee begins a new part of the story that started with The Birchbark House, a National Book Award finalist; The Game of Silence, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; and the acclaimed The Porcupine Year.

Ms. Erdrich is also the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels for adults, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves and National Book Award finalist The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. She is also the author of the picture book Grandmother's Pigeon, illustrated by Jim LaMarche.

Biography

Award-winning novelist Louise Erdrich grew up in North Dakota, the oldest of seven children born to a Chippewa mother and a father of German-American descent. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976 and Johns Hopkins University in 1979, supporting herself with a variety of jobs, including lifeguard, waitress, teacher, and construction flag signaler. She began her literary career as a poet and short story writer and won awards in both fields.

In the late 1970s, Erdrich began a unique collaboration with Michael Dorris, a Native American writer and teacher she met at Dartmouth and married in 1981. In a creative partnership that endured throughout most of their 14-year marriage, each writer exerted a profound influence on the other's work. Although their names appear in tandem on the cover of only two books, Route Two (1990) and The Crown of Columbus (1991), literally everything either one produced during this time was a collaborative effort. In 1995, after a series of tragic setbacks, the couple separated; two years later, Dorris committed suicide.

From the beginning, Erdrich has translated her mixed blood ancestry into chronicles of astonishing power and range. Her bestselling debut novel, the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Love Medicine, is a series of interrelated stories about several generations of Chippewas living on or near a North Dakota reservation. Spanning most of the 20th century, the book dispenses with any sort of chronological time line and borrows narrative conventions from Native American oral tradition. Several subsequent novels pick up characters, incidents, and narrative threads from Love Medicine to form an interconnected story cycle.

In her novels, Erdrich explores complex issues of family, personal identity, and cultural survival among full- and mixed-blood Native Americans, delving into mythology and tradition to extract what is both specific and universal. She has been known to rework material, incorporating short stories into long fiction, rewriting, and revising constantly. She continues to write poetry and is the author of several children's books, as well as a memoir of early motherhood and a travel book. She is also a founder of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore in Minneapolis, where she now lives.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Louise Karen Erdrich (full name; pronounced "air-drik")
    2. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 7, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Little Falls, Minnesota
    1. Education:
      B.A., Dartmouth College, 1976; M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1979

Read an Excerpt

Baptism of Desire
Poems

Fooling God

I must become small and hide where he cannot reach.
I must become dull and heavy as an iron pot.
I must be tireless as rust and bold as roots
growing through the locks on doors
and crumbling the cinderblocks
of the foundations of his everlasting throne.
I must be strange as pity so he'll believe me.
I must be terrible and brush my hair
so that he finds me attractive.
Perhaps if I invoke Clare, the patron saint of television.
Perhaps if I become the images
passing through the cells of a woman's brain.

I must become very large and block his sight.
I must be, sharp and impetuous as knives.
I must insert myself into the bark of his apple trees,
and cleave the bones of his cows. I must be the marrow
that he drinks into his cloud-wet body.
I must be careful and laugh when he laughs.
I must turn down the covers and guide him in.
I must fashion his children out of playdough, blue, pink, green.
I must pull them from between my legs
and set them before the television.

I must hide my memory in a mustard grain
so that he'll search for it over time until time is gone.
I must lose myself in the world's regard and disparagement.
I must remain this person and be no trouble.
None at all. So he'll forget.
I'll collect dust out of reach,
a single dish from a set, a flower made of felt,
a tablet the wrong shape to choke on.

I must become essential and file everything
under my own system,
so we can lose him and his proofs and adherents.
I must be a doubter in a city of belief
that hails his signs (thegreat footprints
long as limousines, the rough print on the wall).
On the pavement where his house begins
fainting women kneel. I'm not among them
although they polish the brass tongues of his lions
with their own tongues
and taste the everlasting life.

Baptism of Desire
Poems
. Copyright © by Louise Erdrich. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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