Wednesday, March 16, 2011

April 1976: American Indian Poetry

Question: What is the American Indians’ perspective toward life and the world around them?

Answer/Quote: “Primitive Indian poetry, because of its oral tradition, had an elegance and dignity that resulted from years of discriminating deletions and additions. There is in it an expression of the joy of living. This is apparent in much of the poetry, whether it be a lullaby or a death song. Most traditional Indian poetry, whatever its purpose, expresses a courage born of a love and respect for everything that surrounds man. There is also in early Indian poetry an abiding hope that all beings of this world, and many of those who inhabit the afterlife, have a beneficent attitude toward ma.” P. 95.

“And so the world in which the Indian lived was good. He, together with it, became a part of the creative divinity that lived in all things, germinating and unfolding itself periodically.” P. 95.

The author next quotes from modern American Indian poetry. RayS.

“In these few examples of modern American Indian poetry one sees the reverence for nature that is part of the Indian heritage. Among the new elements in the poetry is the recognition of what years of destitution and incarceration have done to the spirit of the once proud race. New also is the verbal castigation directed toward the forces that are still exploiting the Indian commercially. Very new is the realization that it is necessary to take a strong stand in openly defying the adoption or acceptance of values that violate man’s integrity.” P. 99.

“As the white man destroys himself by the pace he has set for himself, then the Indian who has patiently survived will have a chance to regain what he had lost, both in his integrity and in his respect for his fathers.” P. 99.

Comment: This article is a “keeper.” RayS.

Title: “Trends in Modern American Indian Poetry.” Sr. Mary Damascene Brocke. English Journal (April 1976), pp. 96-99.

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