In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems, 1961-1991

Natachee Scott Momaday, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (143p) ISBN 978-0-312-08222-2
Illustrated with 50 of the author's own drawings and paintings, the poems and stories collected here are all somehow engaged with Momaday's Native American heritage and the Plains culture of the past. An interesting aspect of his work is his attraction to forms, whether that of the folk tale, the rhyming couplet or the song. As he puts it, ``And there was I, among ancient animals, / In the formality of the dance, / Remembering my face in the mirror of masks.'' Sometimes, it seems as if the powerful ``medicine'' of tradition can be retrieved through its symbols: ``Mine is a beautiful shelf; / there is yellow pollen in it, / there is red earth in it.'' Elsewhere, however, Momaday's formality belongs to the tradition of English poetry, which can seem jarringly rhetorical (``How shall we adorn / Recognition with our speech?'') or too tight to allow the medicine to enter (``What moves on this archaic force / Was wild and welling at the source''). This may account for the volume's unevenness. The poems with no formal allegiances best evoke harmony with the earth (``Rabbits rest in the foreground; / the sky is clenched upon them'') and spiritual interconnection: ``November is the flesh / And blood of the black bear, / Dusk its bone and marrow.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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FORMATS
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-312-09830-8
Hardcover - 143 pages - 978-0-312-08506-3
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-0-8263-4817-3
Paperback - 169 pages - 978-0-8263-4816-6
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