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Loosening the Seams: Interpretations of…

Loosening the Seams: Interpretations of Gerald Vizenor

by A. Lee

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0879728027, Paperback)

Native America can look to few more inventive or prolific contemporary writers than Gerald Vizenor. In this he draws upon a life as eventful in kind: mixedblood and passed-around city child in the Minneapolis of the Depression and World War II; enrolled Anishinaabe or Chippewa/Ojibway member of the White Earth Reservation, Minnesota; GI in the Japan whose haiku and other arts would become a lifelong interest; journalist on the Minneapolis Tribune; Visiting Professor at Tianjin University, China; and, currently, Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Vizenor made his bow as a novelist with Bearheart (1978, revised 1990), a Native pilgrimage story set in an America as much out of spiritual balance as oil and told with all the trickster virtuosity which has become his hallmark. In its wake have followed Griever: An American Monkey King in China (1986), a baroque send-up of Chinese puritanism and American profligacy; The Trickster of Liberty (1988), a campus pastiche of anthropology, computers and "Indian relics"; The Heirs of Columbus (1991), in which, teasingly, Columbus becomes a returnee Mayan; Dead Voices (1992), a shaman story which echoes Samuel Beckett; and Hotline Healers (1997), his Almost Browne story-cycle given over to satirizing New Age and wannabee "Indians."

He has also long shown a rich discursive flair, from early collections like Wordarrows (1978) and Earthdivers (1981), with their barbs at "Indian" stereotype, to manifest Manners (1994) and Fugitive Poses (1998), which explore his notion of "postindian" Native identity. Add to these his poetry, stories, plays, anthologies, screenplays, and his autobiography Interior Landscapes (1990), and one has a voice at once full of Native irony and the postmodern turn.

The seventeen essays gathered in Loosening the Seams take the measure of Gerald Vizenor's achievement. Among the contributors are leading Native American scholars Louis Owens, Arnold Krupat, Elaine A. Jahner, and Barry O'Connell.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:39 -0400)

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