Shapeshift ) comprises a sequence of untitled fragmentary lyrics, which, taken together, form a long poem that is part stream-of-consc"/>

Flood Song

Sherwin Bitsui, Author . Copper Canyon $15 (73p) ISBN 978-1-55659-308-6

This second book by Bitsui (Shapeshift ) comprises a sequence of untitled fragmentary lyrics, which, taken together, form a long poem that is part stream-of-consciousness road movie of the Southwest and part visionary investigation of personal memory. In it, Bitsui attempts to extend and break with the traditions of Native American writing. Bitsui's is a world in which one's connection to the land is inevitably interrupted by centuries of merciless treatment and by the trappings of modern life. In one poem he laments, “You think you can return to that place/ where your mother held her sleeves above the rising tides/ saying, 'We are here again/ on the road covered with television snow; we are here again/ the song has thudded.' ” Throughout, Bitsui straddles borders between a long history and postmodern aesthetics: “the final chapter of this one-room story/ smells disfigured.” This is a powerful collection from a promising young poet. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 11/01/2009
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