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Through the Eye of the Deer: An Anthology of Native American Women Writers written by Carolyn Dunn

 

Through the Eye of the Deer: An Anthology of Native American Women Writers written by Carolyn Dunn

Overview:

By bringing together the voices of Native American women writers across time, regions, and tribes, this collection makes visible a dynamic tradition of women's wisdom and storytelling. From early legends to present-day fiction and poetry, this tradition emphasizes women's spiritual connection to the natural world and their contributions to tribal and familial community. Central to women's strength is the role of animal figures-Coyote, Owl, Beaver and Bear-who act as guides, helpers, and personal totems, appearing unexpectedly in the modern urban landscape as well as being a constant presence in nature.

The work of more than forty authors appears in this volume, representing tribes and regions extending over most of the U.S. and parts of Canada. Among the authors included are Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Leslie Marmon Silko, Paula Gunn Allen, Linda Hogan and Beth Brant, along with writers whose work appears here for the first time.

Synopsis:

The editors are both scholars and both are of Native American descent. They present a general introduction as well as brief introductions to each selection in this anthology of poetry, essays, and stories. The strength and range of voices heard here will intrigue and enlighten a wide audience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Publishers Weekly

Editors Dunn and Comfort (Breaking Boundaries) bring together more than 50 pieces by almost as many authors and poets in this useful but somewhat frustrating anthology of work by Native women from the U.S. and Canada. Selections span time (the earliest pieces are from Mourning Dove and Ella Cara Deloria from the 1920s and 1930s) and numerous tribal traditions throughout North America. Centering on women's experiences, the first section concerns images of birth and creation; subsequent chapters deal with marriage and family, and women's powers and mysteries. Among works from well-known women writers are the prologue from Paula Gunn Allen's The Woman Who Owned the Shadows, and poems by Joy Harjo ("Deer Dancer" and "Wolf Warrior"), Luci Tapahonso ("Above the Canyon Floor") and Ines Hernandez-Avila ("Grandpa's Song for Little Bear"). Louise Erdrich is represented (in a selection from her novel Tracks), and so are Beth Brant ("Coyote Learns a New Trick") and Leslie Silko (material from Storyteller). Such new and emerging voices as Shaunna McCovey, Cheryl Savageau and Deborah Miranda are each accorded two selections. The collection, however, seems unbalanced. Many of the pieces, particularly those from the more noted writers, have appeared elsewhere, and most of these writers are represented by one brief entry, while lesser figures are granted more space. There are also curious omissions: there is nothing by E. Pauline Johnson, whom Beth Brant has described as the mother of Native women's literature. But despite its idiosyncrasies, there is enough material here to interest those already familiar with Native American literature, and to entice the uninitiated. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Title: Through the Eye of the Deer: An Anthology of Native American Women Writers

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