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Archive for Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ad Astra: Glancy explores American Indian legacy

August 3, 2008

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Editor's note: In her Ad Astra Poetry Project, Kansas Poet Laureate Denise Low highlights historic and contemporary poets who resided in Kansas for a substantial part of their lives. Eventually, she will collect the biweekly broadsides into a book, to be published by the Center for Kansas Studies at Washburn University, in cooperation with Thomas Fox Averill.

Diane Glancy, of Prairie Village, has German/English and Cherokee heritage. She writes about her family, American Indian histories and the Midwest. Her novel "Pushing the Bear" is one of the best-known accounts of the Trail of Tears. Her novel "Stone Heart" is about Sacajawea.

She often blends experimental forms with strong storytelling elements. "Indian Summer," for example, tells the story of a farm breakup, but also it suggests the season's changes and historic changes. She uses a pastiche of images to suggest the process of time.

The images - farmhouse, leaves, bugs, cornfields, dress, tools and barn - appear on a fictitious country road. The narrator drives by them and sees an "open sea" and finally the "white iceberg" barn. The barn's isolation is highlighted by the comparison to ice, and also the narrator is alone within time and "migrating daily."

'Indian Summer'

There's a farm auction up the road.
Wind has its bid in for the leaves.
Already bugs flurry the headlights
between cornfields at night.
If this world were permanent,
I could dance full as the squaw dress
on the clothesline.
I would not see winter
in the square of white yard-light on the wall.
But something tugs at me.
The world is at a loss and I am part of it
migrating daily.
Everything is up for grabs
like a box of farm tools broken open.
I hear the spirits often in the garden
and along the shore of corn.
I know this place is not mine.
I hear them up the road again.
This world is a horizon, an open sea.
Behind the house, the white iceberg of the barn.

Education: B.A. in English, University of Missouri, 1964; M.A., Central State University, 1983; M.F.A., University of Iowa Writers Workshop, 1988.

Career: Diane Glancy has written more than 20 books of poetry and more than 20 books of prose; plus a number of plays produced and published. She is professor of English at Macalester College, where she is taking sabbatical/early retirement. She has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lannan foundation, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers and others.

Comments

Alison Carter 6 years ago

What a potent Sunday morning read.Thanks for sharing this with us, Denise Low.

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