The West Pole

Front Cover
U of Minnesota Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 198 pages
A series of interlinked considerations of the connection between storymaking and identity.

"In our tradition, people do not simply speak the world into being. What we say is intricately intertwined with what we are and can be. To the Cherokee people, all things in the world have a voice -- and that voice carries life. Storying gives shape to meaning"

In this groundbreaking work of creative nonfiction, American Book Award winner Diane Glancy juxtaposes personal essays, Cherokee myths, and imaginative sketches to explore her experiences as a Native American mixed-blood coming to terms with the fragmentary nature of her life.

The West Pole is a book about storymaking; in it, Glancy explores the ways the structure of Native American storytelling reflects and shapes her own sense of identity. Through words, she creates and re-creates herself, her world, the traditions of the Cherokee people from whom she is descended.

What is the West Pole? Something not there unless you believe it is -- destinations taken on faith. "The country growing older. The century. Myself. The browning of America. Multiculturalism.... The instability of the economy. The End of the Trail. All of it". These are among the places she takes us by way of "storying", the Cherokee way of recording their struggle across the moving landscape of their lives.

Glancy herself has moved, circling back on her history, the history of the Cherokee people, and our history as a storied nation. Genealogy, school, Native American novels, Minnesota Public Radio, television, exercise bikes, Christmas gifts, autumn leaves, snow, a painting by Pissarro, a flight to Chicago, movies and photo albums: These are some of the occasionsand objects that trigger Glancy's meditations, that become milestones on her journey.

 

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THE WEST POLE

User Review  - Kirkus

Slight, self-satisfied essays on issues of Native American culture and identity. Glancy is an accomplished novelist (Pushing the Bear, 1996, etc.) and essayist (she won an American Book Award for ... Read full review

The west pole

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this group of essays and autobiographical pieces, poet and novelist Glancy (e.g., Pushing the Bear, LJ 7/96) writes about things that are familiar to her. Some of the pieces here are short essays ... Read full review

Contents

Diffusionism
1
Hides
7
School
13
Comment
19
Their Eyes Have Seen the Buffalo
26
Washing out the WarClothes
34
Late in the Afternoon
41
The Woman Who Became a Bear
55
The Woman Who Made Eyes
71
The Stories
83
Grandmother Library
89
Snow
95
Minnesota Public Radio
102
A Christmas Memory
108
Comment
115
Hollyhock A personal of my own life history
127

Comment
63

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