literature tagged posts

“American Indian Literature, An Anthology” Review

3.5 star rating

Alan R. Velie’s 1991 revised edition certainly lives up to it’s anthology subtitle. The book is divided into six sections: Tales, Songs, Oratory, Memoir, Poetry, and Fiction. Each contains what Velie presumably meant to be a representative sampling of these kinds of works.

A theme that runs through almost all of the works from the Oratory section on is the deep anger, frustration, and heartache of a half-conquered people. Looking beyond the Americas, history is replete with examples of conquering forces invading territories, initially overwhelming the people living there, sometimes quickly, sometimes only after a great struggle, but then never entirely wiping them out and replacing them...

Read More

“Seven Arrows” Review

4.5 star rating
Seven Arrows book cover

Hyemeyohsts Storm’s 1972 book Seven Arrows is a very unusual work, a cross between historical fiction and an exegesis of the religious beliefs of the Native American people we now think of as being the tribes of the northern high plains of the United States, specifically the Cheyenne, the Sioux, and the Crow. Storm takes pains at the beginning to provide the names these tribes used for themselves: the Painted Arrow, the Brother People, and the Little Black Eagle. (These names may not be in the same order as the first list.) The only book in my experience that similarly combines a historical record with religious philosophy is the Judeo-Christian Bible. However, Seven Arrows weaves the two together, while the Bible’s historical parts are largely in the Old Testament.

Seven A...

Read More

Great Stuff for Writers, March 5 & 6, 2013

Sorry for the light late-in-the-day post but I’ve spent most of the day as a judge at a science fair, then had a meeting to run this evening. So, without further ado…


Yuvi Zalkow’s (@yuvi) back with some material he extracted from a Skype interview with author Thaisa Frank (@ThaisaFrank). What struck him, and it may strike you too, is her comment about The Failure of the Intended Story, by which she means, she starts to write a story and gets stuck. The process of getting un-stuck then reveals the better/deeper/more real story. How about that? Said another way, if we were to treat “writer’s block” not as a block but a deflector, like a bumper in a pinball machine, we can use it to our advantage, to go in a new and more profitable (artistically and maybe commercially) direction...

Read More