Louise Erdrich on her selection:
"Praise crazy. Praise sad. / Praise the path on which we're led." - Joy Harjo, from “Praise the Rain” (Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings)
The torrential love, heat, sorrow and wit at the heart of Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz also makes this a book of our times. We have become isolated and strangely passive in many ways during this pandemic. This book shakes the reader into clarity and reassures us that our true natures, our most elegant passions, will one day again be called into the world.
Carolyn Forché has always been one of my favorite poets, both for the moral force of her work and the gorgeous texture of the language she uses. “The Museum of Stones” is an example of both and her most recent book, In the Lateness of the World, is a perfect one to read during the eerie silences and unnerving sirens of these times.
Eric Gansworth, a member of the Onondaga Nation, writes terrific novels but I also love his poetry. His book A Half-life of Cardio-Pulmonary Function is a treasure, filled with his drawings and paintings, taking on subjects both ordinary and esoteric. Land O' Lakes has recently discontinued the butter maiden, so I read the poem as a retrospective salute.
Little Big Bully by Heid Erdrich is the winner of the National Poetry Series and will be published in October by Penguin. The winter of 2019 was severe and, as now, we were often indoors. When Heid emerged, it turned out she had written an astonishing book. I've never read anything like Little Big Bully. She probably tunneled into another world for the language, reached into a wildly peopled land both bitter and hilarious for her ideas, and I'm so glad she made it home.
“Manhattan is a Lenape Word,” by Natalie Diaz
“If I Should Come Upon Your House Lonely in the West Texas Desert,” by Natalie Diaz
“Praise the Rain,” by Joy Harjo
“The Museum of Stones,” by Carolyn Forché
“Letter to a City Under Siege,” by Carolyn Forché
“A Half-Life of Cardio-Pulmonary Function,” by Eric Gansworth
“Loving that Land O’Lakes Girl,” by Eric Gansworth
“Public Grief,” by Heid E. Erdrich
“The Coldness Was Coldness,” by Heid E. Erdrich
Intro and outro from "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0
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