New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf) provides a wonderful introduction to the diverse landscape of native voices ... Some of the writers featured here, including Layli Long Soldier and Tommy Pico, have already earned critical acclaim for their shrewd, distinctive work that fearlessly explores their relationship to American history, the natural world and the traditions they learned from forebears who were powerless to defend their lands ... Bilingual poet Margaret Noodin also weaves compelling lines ... 'Are you the carved shoreline/and I the sweetwater sea/or am I the shifting wind/you cannot perceive?'
This collection is distinctly contemporary in its urgency, diversity and vibrancy. In it, she eschews categories in order to resist 'stereotypical notions of Native American history and culture in the past tense' ... By not limiting her selections to fit themes, Erdrich welcomes a diversity of voices and concerns ... In bringing together contemporary, intersectional and diverse voices and refusing to corral them into thematic categories attached to stereotyped notions of indigenous poetry, Erdrich does more than capture the present moment of Native writing. She also advocates for its future: 'These poems create a place, somewhere we could go.'
New Poets of Native Nations is seriously captivating ... I didn’t fall in love with every poem or every poet represented, and I don’t think anyone should ever expect to with an anthology. But this book is a wonderful, needed, vital breath of air ... This anthology is an essential resource for anyone who wants to discover new, contemporary American voices. It encompasses writers of diverse ages, language influences and stylistic preoccupations, celebrants and mourners, historians and dreamers, taxonomists and mystics ... New Poets of Native Nations is a wonderfully conceived collection, full of exciting juxtapositions, rich language and a fine equipoise between generosity and restraint. It’s safe to say New Poets of Native Nations is an essential read.
Indigenous storytelling and poetry have flourished for millennia in the Americas, yet few U.S. residents can name a single native poet. Editor Erdrich recenters this issue by narrowing the focus of this masterfully curated collection to 'Twenty-One Poets for the Twenty-First Century,' as her generous, elucidating introduction explains ... Even the contributor bios take a different approach, forgoing long lists of achievements and awards; instead, each poet recounts his or her lineage, relationship to a native tongue (if any), writers they regard as mentors, and other native poets they recommend. In this way, Erdrich extends the scope of the collection. An immensely important anthology that belongs in every library.
Given that there are 573 recognized Native nations across America, the volume is far from comprehensive, yet it demonstrates the remarkable breadth of formal styles and substantive concerns among even this small cohort of Native writers ... Through this first anthology of US Native poets since 1988, Erdrich offers readers a path into a 'brilliantly lit dimension' that has long been obscured by colonialism in the worlds of academia and cultural production.