Leaving Holes and Selected New Writings

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-2: The Future of the Tribal College Movement, Media Reviews

Mongrel Empire Press (2011)

Review by Ryan Winn

The publication of Joe Dale Tate Nevaquaya’s first poetry collection, Leaving Holes and Selected New Writings, rights a nearly 20-year-old wrong. Nevaquaya, who is tribally affiliated with the Yuchi and Comanche tribes of Oklahoma, was the co-winner of the 1992 Native Writer’s Circle Award for Poetry. But a series of events resulted in this award-winning collection landing in publishing limbo.

Now, this collection confirms the wisdom of the award and will also make readers grateful that Nevaquaya’s words can reach a wider audience. The original collection includes poems that weave together verses of self-examination, personal narrative, nature imagery, sense memory, and sexual fulfillment. The new poems are filled with humor and vibrancy, and, together with the older poems, the collection gives readers an overdue look into the rhythmic words of a man whose talent is both rich and haunting. Nevaquaya’s style and subject matter will certainly engage and challenge his readers, and there is no disputing that his voice deserves a long overdue welcome.

Ryan Winn is the Humanities Department chair at College of Menominee Nation in Keshena and Green Bay, WI.

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