Cover image for The death of Sitting Bear : new and selected poems
Title:
The death of Sitting Bear : new and selected poems
Uniform Title:
Poems. Selections
ISBN:
9780062961150
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
xvii, 167 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
"One of the most important and unique voices in American letters, distinguished poet, novelist, artist, teacher, and storyteller N. Scott Momaday was born into the Kiowa tribe and grew up on Indian reservations in the Southwest. The customs and traditions that influenced his upbringing-most notably the Native American oral tradition-are the centerpiece of his work. This luminous collection demonstrates Momaday's mastery and love of language and the matters closest to his heart. To Momaday, words are sacred; language is power. Spanning nearly fifty years, the poems gathered here illuminate the human condition, Momaday's connection to his Kiowa roots, and his spiritual relationship to the American landscape. The title poem, "The Death of Sitting Bear" is a celebration of heritage and a memorial to the great Kiowa warrior and chief. "I feel his presence close by in my blood and imagination," Momaday writes, "and I sing him an honor song." Here, too, are meditations on mortality, love, and loss, as well as reflections on the incomparable and holy landscape of the Southwest. The Death of Sitting Bear evokes the essence of human experience and speaks to us all"--
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Copies
Status
Searching...
Book 813.54 MOM 1 1
Searching...

On Order

Library
Copy
Location
Parts
R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)1On Order
Hardwood Creek Library (Forest Lake)1On Order

Summary

Summary

Pulitzer Prize winner and celebrated American master N. Scott Momaday returns with a radiant collection of more than 200 new and selected poems rooted in Native American tradition.



"The poems in this book reflect my deep respect for and appreciation of words. . . . I believe that poetry is the highest form of verbal expression. Although I have written in other forms, I find that poems are what I want and need most to read and write. They give life to my mind."

One of the most important and unique voices in American letters, distinguished poet, novelist, artist, teacher, and storyteller N. Scott Momaday was born into the Kiowa tribe and grew up on Indian reservations in the Southwest. The customs and traditions that influenced his upbringing--most notably the Native American oral tradition--are the centerpiece of his work.

This luminous collection demonstrates Momaday's mastery and love of language and the matters closest to his heart. To Momaday, words are sacred; language is power. Spanning nearly fifty years, the poems gathered here illuminate the human condition, Momaday's connection to his Kiowa roots, and his spiritual relationship to the American landscape.

The title poem, "The Death of Sitting Bear" is a celebration of heritage and a memorial to the great Kiowa warrior and chief. "I feel his presence close by in my blood and imagination," Momaday writes, "and I sing him an honor song." Here, too, are meditations on mortality, love, and loss, as well as reflections on the incomparable and holy landscape of the Southwest.

The Death of Sitting Bear evokes the essence of human experience and speaks to us all.


Author Notes

Navarre Scott Momaday was born on February 27, 1934 in Lawton, Okla. to Kiowa parents who successfully bridged the gap between Native American and white ways, but remained true to their heritage. Momaday attended the University of New Mexico and earned an M.A and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1963. A member of the Gourd Dance Society of the Kiowa Tribe, Momaday has received a plethora of writing accolades, including the Academy of American Poets prize for The Bear and the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for House Made of Dawn. He also shared the Western Heritage Award with David Muench in 1974 for the nonfiction book Colorado: Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring, and he is the author of the film adaptation of Frank Water's novel, The Man Who Killed the Deer. His work, The Names is composed of tribal tales, boyhood memories, and family histories. Another book, The Way to Rainy Mountain, melds myth, history, and personal recollection into a Kiowa tribe narrative. Throughout his writings, Momaday celebrate his Kiowa Native American heritage in structure, theme, and subject matter, often dealing with the man-nature relationship as a central theme and sustaining the Indian oral tradition.

(Bowker Author Biography) N. Scott Momaday is Professor of English, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.

050


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In the 50 years since his groundbreaking novel, House Made of Dawn (1968), won the Pulitzer Prize, Momaday has established himself as a preeminent voice in Native American literature. Momaday's influential oeuvre includes novels, folklore, poetry, memoir, stories, plays, children's books, and mixed media work, and this generous collection of new and thoughtfully selected older poetry showcases more than a hundred short poems, many consisting of a single stanza, energized by imagistic brevity: "In my dream, a blue mare loping, / Pewter on a porcelain field." Enlivened by Momaday's gift for depicting the natural world ("The patchwork of morning on gray moraine") and situated against his sense of living mythology ("Time is the red rock and the blue cloud floating above Olijeto"), each poem reflects a lifetime of writing across the intersections of history, identity, and language. The collection also includes a section, "A Century of Impressions," made up of one hundred haikus as well as a brief section on the famous Kiowa warrior, Sitting Bear. This accessible compendium allows readers to savor the life's work of an unparalleled poet.


Library Journal Review

This volume of new and selected poems arrives as Momaday approaches his 86th year, and, as such, ought to be treated as a summation of his work in poetic form. Momaday's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, House Made of Dawn (1968), ushered Native American literature into the American literary consciousness, and Momaday has remained a crucial voice and presence since. As the poet says in the preface, his early work reflects Kiowa oral tradition, but he has absorbed numerous influences, including Emily Dickinson, Yvor Winters, and Thom Gunn, and the fruit is seen in this immensely varied collection--including prose poems, haiku, free lyric, epigram, and unrhymed iambic pentameter. Witness the eloquence of "The Dragon of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges" ("Now pastoral the military ruin;/ The haze of the valley is sweet-scented.") The poetic tribute to Kiowa chief Sitting Bear ideally reconciles Momaday's heritage with his elegance in iambic hexameter. VERDICT An admirable capstone to a distinguished literary career, this splendid selection should be a treasure for Momaday's readers and an excellent introduction for those new to Native American writing. --Graham Christian, formerly with Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, MA


Table of Contents

Prefacep. xiii
Part I Bequestp. 3
In the Forestp. 4
A Siberian Hunter, Remembrancep. 5
To the Farther Campsp. 6
A Darkness Comesp. 7
A Hero's Burialp. 8
The Kiowa No-Face Dollp. 9
A Slovenp. 10
Alaskan Gamesp. 11
A Modest Boast (Toast)p. 12
A Note on Animalsp. 13
Agop. 14
Divisionp. 15
The Night Sky at Copperminep. 16
Song Fragmentsp. 17
For Wallace Stevensp. 18
The Woman Looking Inp. 19
Transparencyp. 20
Spectrep. 21
The Great Fillmore Street Buffalo Drivep. 22
The Snow Marep. 24
The Bone Strikersp. 25
Yahweh to Ursetp. 26
The Essence of Belongingp. 27
To an Aged Bearp. 28
The Bearp. 29
A Benign Self-Portraitp. 30
Prayer for Wordsp. 32
On the Cause of a Homely Deathp. 33
The Blind Astrologersp. 34
The Pursuit of Man by Godp. 35
Revenantp. 37
Death Comes for Beowulfp. 38
The Mythic Harpoonp. 39
Before an Old Painting of the Crucifixionp. 40
A Silence Like Frostp. 42
Angle of Geesep. 43
Birdsongp. 44
Shadep. 45
On the Nevap. 46
The Whale in Amberp. 48
The Dragon of Saint-Bertrand-de-Commingesp. 48
Nous avons vu la merp. 49
A Chroniclep. 50
Before and Afterp. 51
The Theft of Identityp. 52
A Couplet in Tonguesp. 53
Dictump. 54
Needp. 55
JFKp. 56
Song of Longingp. 57
Stonesp. 58
Poem After Lunchp. 59
Approachp. 60
English, the Languagep. 61
A Story of Lightp. 62
This Trainp. 63
War Chroniclep. 64
The Rider of Two Gray Hillsp. 65
Visitation at Amherstp. 66
Firep. 67
First Poemp. 68
Meditation on Wildernessp. 69
Olgap. 70
The Galleriesp. 71
Remembering Milosz and "Esse"p. 72
Death Songp. 73
Dichosp. 74
A Witness to Creationp. 75
Sobremesap. 76
Appearancesp. 77
Arrestp. 79
An Oasis There of Many Colorsp. 80
Afterimagep. 81
The Listenerp. 82
The First Dayp. 83
Revision of the Plainsp. 84
A Blooming of Appearancesp. 87
Sweetgrassp. 88
Rustic Dreamp. 89
Severancep. 90
Seasonalp. 91
Rough Riderp. 92
Almost Lovep. 93
On Spring in the Alexander Gardensp. 94
This Morning the Whirling Windp. 95
Part II A Century of Impressionsp. 99
Part III The Death of Sitting Bearp. 122
Note (on Set-t'an Calendar Entry)p. 131
Set-t'an Calendar Entryp. 132
Susquehannap. 134
Pigmentsp. 136
Linguistp. 138
Dancers on the Beachp. 139
Ultimusp. 140
The Spheresp. 141
A Presence in the Treesp. 142
On the Stairp. 143
Lines for My Daughterp. 144
There Came a Ghostp. 145
Nenetsp. 146
A Measure of Rainp. 147
La tierra del encantop. 148
To Gayep. 149
Jornada del muertop. 150
Octavep. 151
Yellow the Land and Serep. 152
The Window Through Which the Light of a Candle Glowedp. 153
Torrentp. 154
Reconciliationp. 156
A Mythology of Beliefp. 157
Northern Dawnp. 158
The Pilgrimsp. 159
Babushkap. 160
A Woman Walkingp. 163
Seamsp. 164
Gamesmenp. 165
Prairie Hymnp. 166
Acknowledgmentsp. 169