Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition by Kimberly M. Blaeser, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition

Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition

by Kimberly M. Blaeser
     
 

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Gerald Vizenor, the most prolific Native American writer of this century, has produced more than twenty-five books in genres as varied as fiction, journalism, haiku, and literary theory. The first book-length study devoted to this important author, Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition lays the groundwork essential for understanding his complex

Overview

Gerald Vizenor, the most prolific Native American writer of this century, has produced more than twenty-five books in genres as varied as fiction, journalism, haiku, and literary theory. The first book-length study devoted to this important author, Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition lays the groundwork essential for understanding his complex work.

Kimberly M. Blaeser begins with an examination of Vizenor's concept of Native American oral culture and his unique incorporation of oral tradition in the written word. She then explicates Vizenor's method of linking the traditional oral aesthetic with reader-response theories and details Vizenor's efforts to produce a form of writing that resists static meaning, involves the writer in the creation of the literary moment, and invites political action. She also explores the place of Vizenor's work within the larger contexts of contemporary tribal literature, Native American scholarship, and critical theory.

Individual chapters examine Vizenor's renditions of the Native American trickster figure in his fiction; analyze his employment of a network of critical, social, and literary subtexts within the larger text; and explain the sometimes difficult "Vizenorese," a complex of terms that characterize people and ideas. Blaeser offers explanations of the origins, meanings, and dialogic purposes of a variety of terms, such as manifest manners, dead voices, word cinemas, terminal creeds, and socioacupuncture.

Blaeser's is the first study to reveal the full importance of haiku in Vizenor's work. His poetry, which draws equally from Zen aesthetics and Ojibway dream songs, contains concise, economical descriptions, made up equally of absence and presence-a style characterictic of Vizenor's writing in other genres as well.

Based upon scholarship, close reading, and interviews with Vizenor himself, and written by a Native scholar of Vizenor's own tribe, this book explicates Vizenor's ideas, methods, and forms, making even his most sophisticated arguments accessible to the general reader.

Kimberly M. Blaeser, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is the author of Trailing You, a prize-winning collection of poetry

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Vizenor, arguably the most prolific contemporary Native American author, has written more than two dozen books, from fiction and haiku poetry to literary theory. A mixed-blood whose father was murdered when Vizenor was still an infant, he grew up amid poverty, dropped out of high school, joined the military, completed a degree at the University of Minnesota, became a political activist and journalist, and has held professorships at a number of universities. So energetic and elusive a figure is difficult to capture, but Blaeser (English and comparative studies, Univ. of Wisconsin), an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, explains much of the richness of Vizenor's work. She does an excellent job of describing her subject's use of the Native American trickster in his fiction, his incorporation of Ojibway dream songs and Zen aesthetics in his poetry, and his retention of the Ojibway oral culture in his writings. Her book can be read most profitably by those thoroughly familiar with Vizenor's work and knowledgeable about literary theory and recent Native American writing.Nicholas Burckel, Marquette Univ., Milwaukee

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780806143163
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date:
07/27/2012
Pages:
274
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Kimberly M. Blaeser, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is the author of Trailing You, a prize-winning collection of poetry.

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