"What I do as a writer, teacher, and storyteller is to demystify language," says Simon Ortiz. Widely regarded as one of the country's most important Native American poets, Ortiz has led a thirty-year career marked by a fascination with language—and by a love of his people. This omnibus of three previous works offers old and new readers an appreciation of the fruits of his"What I do as a writer, teacher, and storyteller is to demystify language," says Simon Ortiz. Widely regarded as one of the country's most important Native American poets, Ortiz has led a thirty-year career marked by a fascination with language—and by a love of his people. This omnibus of three previous works offers old and new readers an appreciation of the fruits of his dedication.Going for the Rain (1976) expresses closeness to a specific Native American way of life and its philosophy and is structured in the narrative form of a journey on the road of life. A Good Journey (1977), an evocation of Ortiz's constant awareness of his heritage, draws on the oral tradition of his Pueblo culture. Fight Back: For the Sake of the People, For the Sake of the Land (1980)—revised for this volume—has its origins in his work as a laborer in the uranium industry and is intended as a political observation and statement about that industry's effects on Native American lands and lives. In an introduction written for this volume, Ortiz tells of his boyhood in Acoma Pueblo, his early love for language, his education, and his exposure to the wider world. He traces his development as a writer, recalling his attraction to the Beats and his growing political awareness, especially a consciousness of his and other people's social struggle. "Native American writers must have an individual and communally unified commitment to their art and its relationship to their indigenous culture and people," writes Ortiz. "Through our poetry, prose, and other written works that evoke love, respect, and responsibility, Native Americans may be able to help the United States of America to go beyond survival."...
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Woven Stone Reviews
You say you don’t like poetry ? It may not be to late. There is a book called Woven Stone. It’s a collection of poems. A man named Simon Ortiz wrote them. You should get the book. And read it. It will change your mind about poetry.For too many of us guys, the last poetry we read was forced on us by a high school teacher or college instructor. More than likely, the required poems were written in obsolete, or archaic English. A lot of them, you would find, were written by people with confused sexual orientations. Many were written with carefully coded images and secret symbols, known only to other poets. You did not understand. You did not relate. The adult males you knew who actually read and talked about poetry were awfully fey. You were not served well.Woven Stone gives you another chance to enjoy poetry. The 194 poems in this collection are robust, vigorous and masculine. In the short poem "A Barroom Fragment", Ortiz uses a tiny fragment of male/female experience to express a deep seated and universal male attitude. In a longer poem called "Ray’s Story", Ortiz captures the gut feel of work in a uranium mine outside of Grants, New Mexico. The poem describes the death of an indian named Lacey, caught and stamped to death in an underground ore crushing machine. The story is told with the kind of pessimistic, resignation common to men in dangerous trades. Anyone who has worked in high steel, or below daylight can relate to the black humor described in the poem.Simon Ortiz is a Native American. More specifically, he is an Acoma Indian born in the Acoma Pueblo not far from Gallup, New Mexico. Although his poetry expresses the anger and frustration of many contemporary Native Americans, his work goes far beyond the native american experience. He writes about those things common to all men. He knows and writes powerfully about blue collar occupations, about being an alcoholic, about waking up on the floor of a jail, about being divorced, and about being a father.Ortiz uses poetry to share many universal experiences. In a writing style derived from oral storytelling traditions, he expresses those experiences with out a flicker of self pity or complaint. No matter what your ethnic heritage, all you tough guys out there ought to take a look at Woven Stone. You’ll like it.
Simon Ortiz uses the tradition of storyteller to record cultural themes running through the rich oral tradition of the Native American pueblos. As many of the oral stories are songs and chants, they lend themselves readily to poetry. Woven Stone combines 3 previous colllections of poetry and essays. Ortiz writes the heritage of his people, referring often to past historical events, and uses his own experiences of attaining an education and looking for work as metaphor for the continued struggles of Native Americans. He attempts to integrate the ancient legends and myths into contemporary American society. There is a strong political bent to many of his poems. In "A Designated National Park," Oritz writes about a sign outside Montezuma Castle, Arizona, which describes the entrance fees.This morning,I have to buy a permit to get back homeI found his poems about the uranium mines on Native land, and their effect on the landscape and people, to be extremely powerful.Woven Stone
I love Simon Ortiz. I love his voice, his stories, and they way his stories unfold in poetry. I also love how he is talking to the reader as if he is sitting around the campfire passing along the oral tradition. And I he has given me lasting appreciation for Coyote. I serendipitously found him after traveling through a lot of the locations he refers to in his poems. The sense of place is one I can identify with.
A Native New Mexican writes beautiful poetry about then history of his people.
Great collection. Honest, solid and brutal.
Heard these poems at bedtime for the last several weeks and didn't get restless or too sleepy. This is a beautiful volume of poems by an interesting man.
Storytelling from the myths and legends of the Acoma oral tradition, full of wisdome and continuing relevance for the present era, side by side with chronicles of the struggles of ordinary American-Indian people to defend themselves and their land against the ravages of the U.S. state and multinational corporations.