Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Page

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University of Utah Press, Jan 1, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 146 pages
"This is a book about poetry: about its sacred underpinnings, its broad presence in everyday life, and its necessity to the human community. Reading the Voice examines poetry's abiding importance among Native Americans from ancient times to the present. It also seeks connections between an ancient tribal way of making and diffusing poetry and more recent print-oriented or electronic means." "Drawing on years of experience with Seneca and Navajo singers and storytellers, Paul Zoibrod offers an introductory framework for appreciating what can be called America's first literature and for reevaluating the Western literary heritage. He states, "I consider this work a tentative first step in reconciling mainstream America with the deep poetic roots of an unwritten aboriginal past, and perhaps even with the deeper European roots of its own poetic traditions." To do so effectively, however, readers must first reexamine assumptions about what poetry and literature really are." "Those who come to Native American "literature" in print must do so conscious of the dynamic sounds of speech and song by "reading the voice," instead of merely looking at a silent sheet of paper full of alphabetical symbols. By doing otherwise we stand to miss much that is essential to the verbal art of indigenous peoples whom print cultures approach from an alien perspective."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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A Case Study

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alphabetical American poetry among Astrov audience awareness Bakhtin Beowulf black eagle Black Elk Speaks Blessingway body language cadenced ceremonial Chant chimiky'ana'kowa clowns colloquial poetry colloquial voice condoling confederacy conventionally cosmogenic creation creation narrative creation story culture deer Dell Hymes Dennis Tedlock discourse dramatic embeddings dramatic lyric dramatic matrix dramatic poetry electronic Emily Dickinson English ethnopoetics etic etry example father free verse greater-than-human reality Hopi Huckleberry Finn human human voice Hymes ically Iliad inoote Inuit Iroquoian Iroquois Jerome Rothenberg Juan Rain God Judeo-Christian Kachina Village kachinas Kenny Rogers Kinzua Dam kiva kowa Kwakiutl Lakota language Laski Last Duchess likewise listen literary literature longhouse Longhouse Religion lyric poetry lyric voice mainstream might mode morphemes Muddy Water narrative embedding Native American Navajo Navajo hogan Neihardt Newberry Library Ojibwe oral literature oral poetry oral traditions original Papago patterns performance performing poet phonemes poem poetic postmodern poststructuralist preliterate print cultures prose pure song Rain God Drama Raymond Williams readers recited recognize ritual Rothenberg sacred sacred texts San Juan Pueblo San Juan Rain sandpainting Schoolcraft's Seneca shamanic Shiprock singing song sound speak speech stanzas story storyteller structuralist syntactical syntax Tedlock telapnaawe tell term Tewa texts Thank-You Prayer thematic rhythm Theogeny tion traditional translation tribal tribes University of Utah verbal verse Washington Matthews Western culture whether Window Rock written Zolbrod Zumthor Zuni

About the author (1995)

Paul Zolbrod is professor of English, Allegheny College and senior curator at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe.

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