Song of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1974-1994

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Paula Gunn Allen
Ballantine Books, 1996 - Fiction - 353 pages
* Sherman Alexie * Paula Gunn Allen * Esther Belin * Betty Louis Bell * Beth Brant * Joseph Bruchac * Michelle Clinton * Robert J. Conely * Dan L. Crank * Michael Dorris * Debra Earling * Louise Erdrich * Diane Glancy * Roxy Gordon * Joy Harjo * Linda Hogan * Dean Ing * Thomas King * Lee Maracle * N. Scott Momaday * Louis Owens * Opal Lee Popkes * Susan Power * D. Renville * Ralph Salisbury * Leslie Marmon Silko * Patricia Clark Smith * Martin Cruz Smith * Mary Randle TallMountain * Luci Tapahonso * Alice Walker * Karen Wallace * Anna Lee Walters * Emma Lee Warrior * James Welch
In this stunning collection of American Indian literature, scholar and literary critic Paula Gunn Allen gathers together the best Native writing--indeed, some of the best American writing--from the last two decades. Song of the Turtle creates an eloquent cycle of story and self-exploration from the works of both major writers and emerging talents, and represents a unique survey of contemporary Native American work.
In more than thirty luminous stories, American Indian writers explore the ways in which spirituality, ritual, and identity infuse and define the contemporary Native world. Patricia Clark Smith creates an Albuquerque housewife seduced by the music of the Hump Back Flute Player. Louise Erdrich immerses us in danger, conflict, and mystery during an evening of bingo. Michael Dorris tells a droll tale of courtship in a gynocentric Native society.
Recent Native fiction is a powerful sign of the sense of renewal and hope emanating from urban neighborhoods, rural communities, and reservations. This sense arises from the collision of despair, rage, laughter, and celebration, the intense meeting ofthe ancient and the not-yet-come. From it Allen has created Song of the Turtle, the canon of the future and an immensely powerful contribution to American literature.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quondame - LibraryThing

Paula Gunn has too much to say about each story, most of which were ‘slices of life’ ending just before the consequential events. Few of the stories were much in themselves, and I probably refused to ... Read full review

SONG OF THE TURTLE: American Indian Literature 1974-1994

User Review  - Kirkus

Allen, a prolific Native American poet and novelist, follows up an earlier anthology of modern American Indian fiction (Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature 1900-1970, not reviewed) with a ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Of Laguna Pueblo and Sioux descent, Allen was one of the best-known Native American writers and critics and cousin to another, Leslie Marmon Silko. She was born in Grants, New Mexico, on October 24, 1939. She received a bachelor's degree in English in 1966 and a master's degree of fine arts in creative writing in 1968 from the University of Oregon and a doctorate in American studies in 1975 from the University of New Mexico. She taught at numerous schools during her lifetime including San Francisco State, University of California at Berkeley and University of California at Los Angeles. She wrote 17 books including volumes of her own poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She also edited important collections of Native American writing. She received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the University of California at Los Angeles, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in American Indian Studies. She received numerous awards including an American Book Award for editing Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Short Stories by American Indian Writers in 1990 and the Hubbell Medal in 1999. She devoted much of her work to combating oppression by critiquing the ideas that have sanctioned it. The Woman Who Owned the Shadows (1983), is about a woman who comes to realize that she is a lesbian. Allen explores and affirms for women and lesbians the ideas of Spider Grandmother who, in many Native American traditions, is the creator of the heavens, the earth, and all the spirit beings, and therefore an icon of female power. The Sacred Hoop (1986), is a collection of essays written over a number of years that explicitly argue that Native American literature, traditions, mythology, and spirituality can be powerful antidotes to white racism, sexism, and homophobia. She died of lung cancer on May 29, 2008.

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