Sáanii Dahataal/The Women Are Singing: Poems and Stories

Overview


In this cycle of poetry and stories, Navajo writer Luci Tapahonso shares memories of her home in Shiprock, New Mexico, and of the places and people there. Through these celebrations of birth, partings, and reunions, this gifted writer displays both her love of the Navajo world and her resonant use of language. Blending memoir and fiction in the storytelling style common to many Indian traditions, Tapahonso's writing shows that life and death are intertwined, and that the Navajo people live with the knowledge ...
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Overview


In this cycle of poetry and stories, Navajo writer Luci Tapahonso shares memories of her home in Shiprock, New Mexico, and of the places and people there. Through these celebrations of birth, partings, and reunions, this gifted writer displays both her love of the Navajo world and her resonant use of language. Blending memoir and fiction in the storytelling style common to many Indian traditions, Tapahonso's writing shows that life and death are intertwined, and that the Navajo people live with the knowledge that identity is formed by knowing about the people to whom one belongs. The use of both English and Navajo in her work creates an interplay that may also give readers a new way of understanding their connectedness to their own inner lives and to other people. Luci Tapahonso shows how the details of everyday life—whether the tragedy of losing a loved one or the joy of raising children, or simply drinking coffee with her uncle—bear evidence of cultural endurance and continuity. Through her work, readers may come to better appreciate the different perceptions that come from women's lives.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"These stories, simple on the surface, are enormous and resonant. . . . Luci Tapahonso writes the world into balance and harmony, she writes homesickness away." —Parabola"The stories and poems of this book come from a place of long horizons and a huge sky. . . . Luci Tapahonso lovingly uses memory and story to put back the world with a faith in what is gone, but not lost" —Weber Studies"A music that rises from deep roots." —Beloit Poetry Journal"Ms. Tapahonso speaks the observed and spiritual world into existence." —The New York Times Book Review"There is no real distinction between her long-lined, exploratory 'poems' and dense, metaphorically rich 'essays.' Both capture the voice of a storyteller steeped in traditional ways but fluent as well in contemporary expression....Tapahonso provides us with a true bridge to her culture and its spiritual insights." —Booklist
Library Journal
Navajo poet and English professor Tapahonso here celebrates the importance of conversation and the spoken word among her people. Driving back and forth between her parents' home in Shiprock, New Mexico, and her current home in Lawrence, Kansas, this gifted writer recalls snatches of family memories and tribal stories through the intermingled forms of poetry, songs, prayers, and anecdotes. Ranging across Navajo history, this collection in English and Navajo is warm and witty. Tapahonso states that for people like herself who live away from their homelands, ``writing is the means for . . . restoring our spirits to the state of hozho , or beauty, which is the basis of Navajo philosophy.'' This book is a clear reflection of that sentiment. Recommended for most collections.-- Lisa A. Mitten, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816513611
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Series: Sun Tracks , #23
  • Pages: 94
  • Sales rank: 1,203,332
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: The Kaw River Rushes Westward
Blue Horses Rush In 1
The Weekend Is Over 3
Just Past Shiprock 3
In 1864 7
They Were Alone in the Winter 11
They Are Silent and Quick 13
It Was a Special Treat 15
It Has Always Been This Way 17
Shaa Ako Dahjinileh/Remember the Things They Told Us 19
Leda and the Cowboy 21
These Long Drives 23
Hills Brothers Coffee 27
One Dog Story 29
Dit'oodi 33
It Is a Simple Story 37
She Says 39
Raisin Eyes 41
How She Was Given Her Name 43
If Shiyazhi Could Speak 45
Light a Candle 49
What Danger We Court 51
The Pacific Dawn 53
It Is Night in Oklahoma 55
Outside a Small House 57
Shuuh Ahdee 59
A Whispered Chant of Loneliness 63
Little Pet Stories 65
The Motion of Songs Rising 67
Uncle's Journey 69
The Snakeman 77
What I Am 85
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