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Native American Songs and Poems: An Anthology

Native American Songs and Poems: An Anthology

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Native American Songs and Poems: An Anthology

3/5 (11 Bewertungen)
117 Seiten
31 Minuten
Mar 12, 2012


In this carefully chosen collection, encompassing traditional songs and contemporary Native American poetry, readers will find a treasury of lyrics verse composed by Seminole, Hopi, Navajo, Pima, Havasupai, Arapaho, Paiute, Nootka, and other Indian writers and poets.
Selections range from the beautiful, traditional Seminole "Song for Bringing a Child into the World" to the cynical, knowing "How to Write the Great American Indian Novel." Permeated by the Indian's deep awareness and appreciation of nature's beauty and rhythms, these poems deal with themes of tradition and continuity, the Indians' place in contemporary society, love, loss, memory, alienation, and many other topics.
Taken together, these poems offer an intimate, revealing record of the Native American response to the world, from time-honored chants and songs to the musings of urban Indian poets coming to grips with twentieth-century America.
Mar 12, 2012

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Copyright © 1996 by Dover Publications, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Bibliographical Note

Native American Songs and Poems: An Anthology is a new work, first published by Dover Publications, Inc., in 1996.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Native American songs and poems : an anthology / edited by Brian Swann.

p. cm.—(Dover thrift editions)

Includes bibliographical references.


ISBN-10: 0-486-29450-1

1. American poetry—Indian authors. 2. Indians of North America—Songs and music—Texts. 3. Indian poetry—Translations into English. 4. Songs, American—Texts. I. Swann, Brian. II. Series.

PS591.155N37 1996




Manufactured in the United States by Courier Corporation


Introductory Note

Native American literature is all of a piece, from traditional songs and ceremonies that continue to this day (see, for example, Havasupai Medicine Song) to the many poets who are now at the forefront of contemporary American literature. Like other poets, Native American poets write about all sorts of things, but tradition is a strong theme. So, when I invited participation in this venture, I wrote as follows: I don’t want to prescribe topics, but it might be a good idea to focus on the rich and complex theme of tradition and continuity, however you choose to treat it. Readers can discover for themselves how the poets interpreted this suggestion.

While most poets choose to write and publish in English, others compose in their native tongue and translate into English. They do this even though they feel some loss since, as the Navajo Rex Lee Jim wrote me, writing poems in Navajo is like painting with the tip of a slashing whip. Ideally, poets writing in a native language would publish their poems in

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  • (2/5)
    I believe I would have enjoyed these more and understood the pictures painted with these words had I either grown up in the culture or spent a very long time learning it from an appropriate teacher. I can also believe that the collection would be very meaningful to a person who had done both of those things.