The Death of Sitting Bear
New and Selected Poems
“From Pulitzer Prize-winning author (House Made of Dawn in 1969), Oklahoma Centennial State Poet Laureate, and acclaimed artist N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) comes a new collection of more than 100 new and selected poems in The Death of Sitting Bear. Presented in three parts, some poems are quick tributes to natural phenomenon but made no less impactful for their brevity. Simple moments – the sound of fry bread sizzling in childhood – are exquisitely detailed. Complex questions about the nature of animals and humans and their meanings and representations to each other are explored. God, as an entity, as a spirit, as in nature, is called upon. Other pieces are long form poetic narratives, such as Part II, A Century of Impressions, which detail an era in “one hundred haiku/elemental exercise/to nourish the mind.” The titular poem, The Death of Sitting Bear, gives voice to the great man himself in stanzas of poetic prose, detailing Sitting Bull’s life and death as an elite Kaitsenko warrior. Firmly steeped in Kiowa heritage and indigenous oral storytelling traditions, Momaday breathes in the spirit of the Southwest and breathes out masterful imagery onto the page. The poems beg to be read aloud in order to savor the taste of the language, each word carefully chosen to evoke shape, sound, sight, feeling, and history with the weight of its intention: “a blackbird holds still/in the center of sight/and I cannot/look away."”BrocheAroe, River Dog Book Co.
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