Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry

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Overview

Although American Indian poetry is widely read and discussed, few resources have been available that focus on it critically. This book is the first collection of essays on the genre, bringing poetry out from under the shadow of fiction in the study of Native American literature.

Speak to Me Words is a stimulating blend of classic articles and original pieces that reflect the energy of modern American Indian literary studies. Highlighting various aspects of poetry written by American Indians since the 1960s, it is a wide-ranging collection that balances the insights of Natives and non-Natives, men and women, old and new voices. Included here are such landmark articles as "Answering the Deer" by Paula Gunn Allen, "Herbs of Healing" by Carter Revard, and "Song, Poetry and Language—Expression and Perception" by Simon Ortiz—all pieces that have shaped how we think about Native poetry. Among the contributions appearing for the first time are Elaine Jahner writing on Paula Gunn Allen's use of formal structures; Robert Nelson addressing pan-Indian tropes of emergence, survival, return, and renewal; and Janet McAdams focusing on Carter Revard's "angled mirrors." Although many Native writers may disregard distinctions between genres, together these writings help readers see the difference between American Indian poetry and other forms of Native literature.

These essays are as broad, encompassing, and provocative as Native poetry itself, branching off from and weaving back into one another. In showing how American Indian poetry redefines our social order and articulates how Indian communities think about themselves, these writers establish a new foundation for the study—and enjoyment—of this vital art.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The well-written essays . . . offer a variety of critical and theoretical approaches from scholars and scholar/poets, with a unique intertexuality arising from some contributors analyzing the poetic works of other writers in the volume. . . . This volume shifts the focus in formal studies of American Indian poetics to the people as they are now and their hopes for healing in the future." —Great Plains Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816523498
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 294
  • Sales rank: 567,959
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean Rader is Assistant Professor of English at the University of San Francisco. Poet Janice Gould is an assistant professor of women’s and ethnic studies at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She has published two previous collections of poetry, Earthquake Weather, also published by the University of Arizona Press, and Beneath My Heart. She is also co-editor of Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Generations and Emanations 3
Poems as Maps in American Indian Women's Writing 21
Situating American Indian Poetry: Place, Community, and the Question of Genre 34
Daydreaming Primal Space: Cherokee Aesthetics as Habits of Being 56
Beloved Woman Returns: The Doubleweaving of Homeland and Identity in the Poetry of Marilou Awiakta 71
The Power and Presence of Native Oral Storytelling Traditions in the Poetry of Marilou Awiakta, Kimberly Blaeser, and Marilyn Dumont 82
Ain't Seen You Since: Dissent among Female Relatives in American Indian Women's Poetry 103
The Epic Lyric: Genre and Contemporary American Indian Poetry 123
Answering the Deer: Genocide and Continuance in the Poetry of American Indian Women 143
The Style of the Times in Paula Gunn Allen's Poetry 153
Herbs of Healing: American Values in American Indian Literature 172
Carter Revard's Angled Mirrors 193
"Dawn / Is a Good Word": Naming an Emergent Motif of Contemporary Native American Poetry 207
Call Me Brother: Two-Spiritness, the Erotic, and Mixedblood Identity as Sites of Sovereignty and Resistance in Gregory Scofield's Poetry 222
Song/Poetry and Language - Expression and Perception 235
Notes 247
Suggestions for Further Reading 269
Source Acknowledgments 281
Contributors 283
Index 287
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