Songs, Blood Deep
Songs, Blood Deep
"The poems are quiet and powerful, understated and deeply moving."--Carter Revard, author of How the Songs Come Down: New & Selected Poems
What flows deep from the heart songs of
these poems is Gwen Westerman's proud and profound engagement with and
transmission of closely held cultural values of the Dakota people.
Originating from the prairies of the Great Plains, this is a
collection that affirms a passion for family, community, and the
environment. Westerman draws upon both English and the Dakota
language to celebrate the survival of her people and articulate the
conflicts of the past and present, so that an enriched future will
endure. The long opening poem reclaims the Mississippi River as a sacred resource, "In the beginning/de Dakota Makoce/this was a Dakota place./The water was pure." Historical
misinformation about the First Peoples is unmasked, the record set
straight apart from how explorers and conquering armies have wrongly
portrayed the past. Herein life-affirming words are
conveyed from grandmother, to mother, to children and offered as a
gift to the reader, "This is my give-away--to touch what is good in you/with words your heart can hear."
Author: Gwen Nell Westerman
Publisher: Holy Cow Press
Binding Type: Paperback
Size: 8.80h x 5.80w x 0.40d
About the Author
Gwen Nell Westerman's roots are deep in the landscape of the tall grass prairie, and reveal themselves in her art and writing through the languages and traditions of her family. She is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate, her father's people, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, her mother's people. She is the co-author of Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota which won a 2013 Minnesota Book Award, and a 2014 Hognander Minnesota History Award. Gwen's poems, essays, and short stories appear in numerous publications, including the Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (2020); the Minnesota issue of Quiltfolk (January 2020); and New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf Press, 2018). Her poetry collection Follow the Blackbirds (2013) was published by Michigan State University Press. She holds her BA and MA in English from Oklahoma State University, and PhD in English from the University of Kansas. She teaches American and Native Nations literatures, Technical Communication, and Humanities to undergraduate and graduate students at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
In 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz appointed Westerman as the third Minnesota State Poet Laureate. She resides near Mankato, Minnesota.