The Summer of Black Widows

The Summer of Black Widows

by Sherman Alexie
     
 

Poetry. Native American Studies. THE SUMMER OF BLACK WIDOWS presents poetry that has continued to grow in power, complexity, and vision. According to reviewer James R. Kincaid, "Mr. Alexie's is one of the major lyric voices of our time", and the many honors and an international following of readers from his poems, stories, and novels proves the claim. Chris Faatz

Overview


Poetry. Native American Studies. THE SUMMER OF BLACK WIDOWS presents poetry that has continued to grow in power, complexity, and vision. According to reviewer James R. Kincaid, "Mr. Alexie's is one of the major lyric voices of our time", and the many honors and an international following of readers from his poems, stories, and novels proves the claim. Chris Faatz from The Nation agrees, calling Alexie "a young writer who is taking the literary world by storm...a superb chronicler of the Native American experience...he is a master of language, writing beautifully, unsparingly and straight to the heart."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For prolific poet and novelist Alexie (First Indian on the Moon), "Indian" culture is not a frozen set-piece, but a field of vital, co-mingling influences that includes playing basketball, watching for Sasquatch or admiring Fred Astaire. His cultural pantheon is apparent in the sixth of seven "Totem Sonnets": "Lenny/ Edgar Bearchild/ Holden Caulfield/ Tess// The Misfit/ Sula/ Mazie/ Tayo// Cacciato/ Cecelina Capture/ Hamlet/ Jim Loney// Daredevil/ The Incredible Hulk." Moving among sites of personal and historical tragedy, as well as joy (the Spokane reservation in Washington State, Brooklyn's F Train, Dachau), the first-person speaker of these poems is shadowed by remembrance and loss: "On the top of Wellpinit mountain, I watch for fires, listen to a radio powered by the ghosts of 1,000 horses, shot by the United States Cavalry a century ago, last week, yesterday." While lacking the raffish elegance of Frank O'Hara (though engaging elegies for James Dean and Marilyn Monroe are included here) and with the acknowledged influence of Ted Berrigan, Alexie, at his best, opens to us the complexity and contradiction of a contemporary multicultural identity. Repeatedly invoking the liar paradox (perhaps because "Indians... don't believe in autobiography"), Alexie poses a question for all of us: "Do these confused prayers mean/ we'll live on another reservation/ in that country called Heaven?" (Oct.)
Library Journal
The seven sections of poet/novelist Alexie's (Indian Killer, LJ 8/96) new collection are intensely elegiac, documenting ravages to a Native American identityand, one finally feels, to contemporary American identity itself. Alexie's search for meaning gives "tragic features" of "indigenous people" a sense of nobility as they struggle to maintain dignity in a world given over to hatred of the authentic. Intergenerational native dances, powwow, drum music (entertainment and prayer), and traditional song provide somber rhythm to correlate places Alexie visits with "secrets" of Native American culture always in the back of his mind. "The reservation waits for no one," Alexie concludes. "Acre by acre, it roars past history." The legacy of American history is difficult. This worthy poetry makes an important contribution to coming to terms with it.Frank Allen, North Hampton Community Coll., Tannersville, Pa.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781882413355
Publisher:
Hanging Loose Press
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Pages:
140
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.72(d)

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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