Faceby Sherman Alexie
Poetry. Fiction. Native American Studies. In this first full collection in nine years, Alexie's poems and prose show his celebrated passion and wit while also exploring new directions. Novelist, storyteller and performer, he won the National Book Award for his YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. His work has been praised throughout the world
Poetry. Fiction. Native American Studies. In this first full collection in nine years, Alexie's poems and prose show his celebrated passion and wit while also exploring new directions. Novelist, storyteller and performer, he won the National Book Award for his YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. His work has been praised throughout the world, but the bedrock remains what The New York Times Book Review said of his very first book: "Mr. Alexie's is one of the major lyric voices of our time."
Brash, confrontational verse and prose have made Alexie the most famous, and the most controversial, Native American writer of his generation. Alexie (First Indian on the Moon), in this first book of poems since 2000, sometimes works in sonnets, rhymed couplets, short quatrains, even villanelles. The results are mixed and occasionally naïve ("When I tell my wife about my adolescent rage/ She shrugs, rolls her eyes, and turns the page"). More successful are his many experiments with footnotes and interpolated blocks of prose within poems, devices that let Alexie explore his self-consciousness, as he looks back on his childhood on "the rez" in Washington State, inward to his sex life and his happy marriage, and outward to public events, from the Clinton impeachment to Gonzaga University basketball. Alexie's self-interruptions also permit flights of comedy, with homages to Richard Pryor and to the porn star Ron Jeremy. The humor, in turn, lets Alexie brace himself for his most serious subjects: his love for his son, the history of his people and the last illness and death of his father, a flawed but durable example of the manliness for which Alexie so often strives. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Poet, novelist, and National Book Award-winning YA author Alexie writes "with a ragged and rugged formalism," he says, and has mastered both the metrical dance and fixed forms. A sequence of sonnets finds the Seven Deadly Sins in marriage, for instance; a villanelle begins with Mount Rushmore but eases into a consideration of America's Presidents, complemented by wry and smart footnotes. One series of rhymed tercets in tetrameter is supplemented with footnotes in the same formal pattern, footnotes that have footnotes, by the way. Top that! Well, a sonnet (about comedy) has footnotes presented in seven couplets, then notes on those notes in three quatrains and a final couplet-in essence, a sonnet hat trick. Alexie is keen-witted and sharp-tongued, even occasionally raw, but all in the service of truth: "But don't these fools realize/ That I am always surprised// By the beauty of this life?/ Don't they ever laugh and cry// at the gorgeous absurdities of sex?" Alexie is not always about laughs, not always about sex; there are a lot of serious undercurrents in his poetry, and they are always a pleasure to find. Highly recommended.
- Hanging Loose Press
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- 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)
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Meet the Author
Sherman Alexie's poems, fiction, essays and films have won him an international following since his first book, THE BUSINESS OF FANCYDANCING, was published in 1992. SMOKE SIGNALS, the film he adapted from one of his short stories and co-produced, enlarged his audience still further. Alexie's awards include the Stranger Genius Award in Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children's Literature in Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature as well as honors and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Foundation, and a citation as "One of 20 Best American Novelists Under the Age of 40" from Granta magazine. An enrolled Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, Alexie lives in Seattle with his wife and sons.
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It has been many years since I've found a book of Alexi's poetry, and when I found this I grabbed it. I was not disappointed. I was ecstatic. Alexie shows no fear when he writes. He isn't afraid to experiment with words or with form. He not only combines prose with his poetry (poetry with his prose?), he has even found a way to use footnotes! At first, I was disconcerted with this, but as I read, I realized he had written poems within poem! Stunningly brilliant. (It reminds me of the old Choose Your Own Adventure series I bought my kids.) I suggest you read the book before giving it to a child, no matter how precocious she might be, and be prepared to discuss whatever poems might come up in conversation, or you might be blindsided. Alexie writes poetry for the people, not the "intelligentsia," all of his poetry is accessible, and in this book, he even explains a bit about how he writes. This collection is personal; it's about fathers and sons—his father, he as father, his sons, all fathers, all sons. There will be sadness and perhaps tears. There will also be light and laughter, especially when his wife enters the poem. I hope we do not need to wait so long for the next collection.
"Sherman Alexie is America's wooden cigar store Indian." - unknown A quote I found on the internet I once hated and now believe. Mr. Alexie you used to be about something. The last time I heard you speak was in 2000 and it was remarkable. I've read most of your earlier books and have enjoyed them very much. And now in these past couple of years it's turned into this absurd eff this and eff that garbage every other sentence. You are not Bill Hicks. You are not Sam Kinison. You are Sherman Alexie. You've disappointed me. During those years of being away since Ten little Indians what happened to you? What would make you conjure up such a phony eff the world act. What sort of crap did you see, hear, or read in that time. It doesn't fit the Sherman Alexie I once heard all those years ago. What could it be? You've disappointed me. "I'm worried about young writers. I'm worried about new writers. I'm worried about the native kids out there that need my stories. And for just thirty dollars a book they too can escape the reservation of their minds." - Sherman A. Mr. Alexie. You used to be someone I could be proud of. And now. Your just America's wooden cigar store Indian.
Although Alexie's voice is largely the same throughout the poems, it works better in the graphic novel/fiction version of his coming of age self. It's not that Face is bad per se, but it's not great. However, even Alexie himself acknowledges that his poetic ability may not be of the top caliber, but he wants to express himself and makes no apologies. That said, it's not entirely a book that I would recommend kids younger than 15 read. Many of the poems deal with Alexie as an adult, and again, he makes no apologies for the content. I will say, though, that all of the poems dealing with him as a child, or his adult self dealing with elements from his childhood are excellent poems and would be more interested for a younger audience. - Lindsey Miller, lindseyslibrary.