Clans of Many Nations

May 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 14-4: Cultural Resilience, Media Reviews

by Peter Blue Cloud
White Pine Press, 166 pages

Reviewed by Lorna Wilkes-Ruebelmann

Peter Blue Cloud’s poetry provides beautiful, mysterious, and haunting imagery of indigenous Americans and their landscapes, prehistoric and present. His language somehow gets the reader into the present and the past simultaneously. His images of quiet mountaintops and country trails contrast with vivid images of New York City’s high steel construction and freeways.

In “For a Dog-killed Doe,” the narrator cuts an injured pregnant doe’s belly open, and “that which was dead tumbled out as if to mimic birth.” This image of the present contrasts with the narrator’s thought, “Many nations passed through my mind as I began skinning the body of her clan.” “Chokecherries” contrasts the tart taste of the cherries with ancient flute players.

Throughout the poems, Blue Cloud envisions clans that can and do fit in both worlds, past and present. He tells us something about all of us, indigenous or not.

Lorna Wilkes-Ruebelmann is a freelance consultant in Sheridan, WY.

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