All My Sins Are Relatives

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U of Nebraska Press, Aug 1, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 268 pages
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"W. S. Penn borrows from the American Indian oral tradition to create a tough and sometimes lyrical investigation of mixed-race identity. All My Sins Are Relatives juxtaposes memoir, history, literary analysis, opinion and storytelling in a way that Penn sees as particularly Indian".-New York Times. "[Penn] masterfully melds the history and traditions of the Nez Perce with that of his family, not only when they coincide in obvious ways-as in the story of Penn's ancestor Chief Joseph-but also in explaining his father's inability to stay at his job until retirement, his sister's dreamy obliviousness to pain, his own digressive writing style, and the perennial cynicism that has allowed him to survive in a hostile world. Insightful and elegantly written".-Kirkus. "Well-crafted literary essays".-Publishers Weekly. In All My Sins Are Relatives Penn finds in his own family three generations trying to come to terms with their differences and their Indianness. Within its pages, Penn describes learning the depths of his love for his grandfather, to whom he dedicated this book. "As arrogant as youth can be, I was often too busy silently grading his grammar to pay real attention and see what he was giving me". Among the gifts was an awareness of what a story could tell, what it could conceal, and what it could never tell. W. S. Penn, an urban mixblood, is an associate professor of English at Michigan State University and the author of The Absence of Angels.
  

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All my sins are relatives

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In this autobiographical work, which won the 1994 North American Prose Award, given by the University of Nebraska, Penn attempts to come to terms with his mixed heritage of Nez Perce, Osage, and Anglo ... Read full review

Contents

This Close Coyote i
11
Dreaming
23
Uprooted in Eeikish Pab
53
PitchingTense Hi 5 Scylla or The True Spelling of Mourning
113
The Jacks of Charybdis
137
Respect for Wendy Rose
151
Live Doubts and Whipping Cream
185
Of Bloody Punctuation
217
So Much Water Underground
229
Notes
247
Bibliography
255
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About the author (1996)

W. S. Penn, an urban mixblood, is an associate professor of English at Michigan State University and the author of The Absence of Angels.

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