First Indian on the Moon

Sherman Alexie, Author Hanging Loose Press $14 (116p) ISBN 978-1-882413-02-7
Reading this latest offering of poetry and short prose pieces from Native American writer Alexie ( The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven ), it's easy to see why his work has garnered so much attention. Working from a carefully developed understanding of his place in an oppressed culture, he focuses on the need to tear down obstacles before nature tears them down. Fire is therefore a central metaphor: a sister and brother-in-law killed, a burnt hand, cars aflame. Tongue in cheek, Alexie inserts images from popular songs and movies, and catalogues aspects of traditional reservation life that have been sacrificed in America's melting pot. ``After 500 years of continuous lies / I would still sign treaties for you,'' he says in one of this volume's many love poems--a love so powerful it threatens to engulf readers as well. Alexie renews the nearly forgotten sense of language equaling power. And the language in these sequential works is flawless, each section picking up from and expanding upon the previous one, poetry and prose working naturally together. ``Imagination is all we have as defense against capture and its inevitable changes,'' he writes. And he proves his point. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 12/01/1993
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