Dirt Road Home


Cheryl Savageau writes of poverty, mixed ancestry, nature, and family in poems that are simultaneously tough and tender, and salted with a rich folk humor from her Abenaki and French Canadian ancestry.
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Cheryl Savageau writes of poverty, mixed ancestry, nature, and family in poems that are simultaneously tough and tender, and salted with a rich folk humor from her Abenaki and French Canadian ancestry.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

French/Canadian/Native poet Cheryl Savageau's poems tell of poverty, mixed ancestry and alliances, and strong family ties in a sweep of visions which trace both the progress of her life and influences and those of her family and friends. Lyrical, personal free verse. -- Midwest Book Review

Savageau's poetry is "Stirring, imagistic, and powerful."

"The view from Cheryl Savageau's poems sweeps horizon-wide. She does not flinch away from the pain of racism and self-denial, yet the Abenaki inheritance she claims gives her, and offers us, a woman's celebratory vision."

—Marilyn Nelson

Library Journal
Savageau is of Abenaki Indian and French Acadian ancestry, and her poems explore the multistranded tensions of growing up poor in a family of mixed heritage. From her father, the poet inherited a love of nature, especially the primeval landscape of New England, which has been all but erased by industrial blight and urbanization. Her poems about birds, trees, and landscapes sing with a sensuous appreciation of the natural world. Other poems pay affectionate tribute to members of Savageau's extended family, who, though burdened by poverty and ethnicity, survive, for the most part, with spirit and dignity. Savageau has a storyteller's gift and an imagist's eye; her language is clean and sure: "my mother, red-haired,/who lived with my father/forty years.../watches the feathered dancers/and says, so that's/what real Indians look like./I wrap the shawl around my shoulders,/and join the circle." The hard truths out of which these poems spring are tempered by a magnanimous spirit and an acceptance of life's complexities. Recommended for contemporary poetry collections.-Christine Stenstrom, Brooklyn P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880684306
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 78
  • Sales rank: 1,456,008
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Abenaki poet, Cheryl Savageau has been awarded Fellowships in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and three residencies at the MacDowell Colony. Her second book of poetry, Dirt Road Home, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. She was awarded Mentor of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, as well as Writer of the Year for her children's book, Muskrat Will Be Swimming. Savageau also works as a textile artist. Her quilts have recently been exhibited at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
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Table of Contents

Introduction by Joseph Bruchac
Henri Toussaints
Looking For Indians
Ol' Crazy Baker
At the Fireworks
Just His Eyes
What the Boy Said
At the A & W
Harsh Words
French Girls Are Fast
Card Shark
Like a Good Joke: Grandma At Ninety
First Grade—Standing In the Hall
Hanging Clothes In the Sun
At Fifteen, Louise Kills Chickens
Logic Problem
Department of Labor Haiku
Why They Do It
Infant of Prague
The Sound of My Mother Singing
What I Save
Equinox: The Goldfinch
Trickery: A May Poem
Summer Solstice
Bones—A City Poem
The Sweet and Vinegary Taste
After Hours
Comes Down Like Milk
Mother Night: Full Moon Past Solstice
After Listening to a Reading of Romantic Poems About Columbus: One More Thought
Medicine Woman
To Human Skin
At the Pow Wow
Like the Trails of Ndakinna
All Night She Dreams
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