Each of the three sessions will be centered on Native American poetry from When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, by Joy Harjo. The class instructor, Carol, will highlight three or so poems in each session. She will emphasize what the primary editor, Joy Harjo, wrote in her introduction about the character of all poetry, but indigenous poetry especially:
“What is shared with all tribal nations in North America is the knowledge that the earth is a living being, and a belief in the power of language, to create, to transform, and to establish change. Words are living beings. Poetry in all its forms, including songs, oratory, and ceremony, both secular and sacred, is a useful tool for the community. Though it is performative there is no separations of the audience and performer” (p. 2).
Though the anthology includes the work of more than 160 poets from hundreds of indigenous nations, in the time and space we have, Carol will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on work by several of the really fine poets who live in our region, described in the anthology as “the Northeast and Midwest.”
Each of our three sessions will look closely at just a few poems, texts of which students will be able to read and have access to by email or on the web site before each session. So students will not have to purchase the complete anthology to have full access to the poems we’ll be discussing in the series!
Poems for Session 1:
N. Scott Momaday, (Kiowa) – A Blessing, Prayer for Words
Poems for Session 2:
Self-Representation and Identity
Poems for Session 3:
The Ghosts of Forgotten Histories—and Sovereignty
- Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota) – 38 (pp. 149-55)
- Alexander Posey (Muskoka) “To Allot, Or Not To Allot” (p. 373)
- Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (Crow Creek Sioux) “At Dawn, Sitting at My Father’s House” p. 107)
- Elizabeth Woody (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) – Translation of Blood Quantum (230-31)