Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America

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From people who value stories and songs from literary traditions that are as encompassing and intricate as those of Europe, Reinventing the Enemy's Language is the most comprehensive anthology of its kind to collect the poetry, fiction, prayer and memoir from Native American women. It is about the process of writing and speaking that sheds light on what it means to be an Indian woman at the end of the century, as many nations - including the United States and Canada - are involved in the emotionally charged ...
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Overview

From people who value stories and songs from literary traditions that are as encompassing and intricate as those of Europe, Reinventing the Enemy's Language is the most comprehensive anthology of its kind to collect the poetry, fiction, prayer and memoir from Native American women. It is about the process of writing and speaking that sheds light on what it means to be an Indian woman at the end of the century, as many nations - including the United States and Canada - are involved in the emotionally charged question of identity and place. Over eighty writers are represented from nearly fifty nations.

Reinventing the Enemy's Language: North American Native Women's Writing, edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird with Patricia Blanco, Beth Cuthand and Valerie Martinez, "includes eighty-seven writers from many and varied tribes and backgrounds, from the Tohono O'odham people born at the southern border of the United States to the Athabascan near the Arctic Circle," Harjo notes in the introduction, and they represent some 50 tribal nations. With colonialization, the people were forced to use English, but, Harjo writes, "It was when we began to create with this new language that we named it ours, made it usefully tough and beautiful." In addition to poetry and fiction, the women affirm that personal narrative, prayer and testimonials are important to their tradition and to this collection, which includes Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko and Linda Hogan along with lesser-known and first-time writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Coeditors Harjo (The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, LJ 11/15/94) and Bird (Full Moon on the Reservation, Greenfield Review, 1994) have put together a one-of-a-kind anthology of fiction, poetry, and memoir from over 80 Native women writers representing over 50 nations. Although nationally known writers such as Louise Erdrich, Linda Hogan, and Leslie Silko are included, many others are being published here for the first time. More than a collection of literature, this work is divided into four sectionsgenesis, struggle, transformation, and returningto illuminate the writing process. Each writer introduces herself and her philosophical perspective about writing, and the willingness to share personal stories makes this a work of rare beauty, truth, and power. In addition, the anthology also highlights the writers' views on universal concerns such as violence against women, poverty, alcoholism, depression, government/Native American relations, and, especially, identity and place. Recommended for all libraries.Vicki Leslie Toy Smith, Univ. of Nevada, Reno
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393040296
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Gloria Bird lives in Nespelem, Washington.

Joy Harjo is an internationally known performer and writer of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She has written seven books of poetry, including She Had Some Horses and How We Became Human, and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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