The Death of Sitting Bear: New and Selected Poems

The Death of Sitting Bear: New and Selected Poems

by N. Scott Momaday

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Overview

“These are the poems of a master poet. . . . When you read these poems, you will learn to hear deeply the sound a soul makes as it sings about the mystery of dreaming and becoming.” — Joy Harjo, Mvskoke Nation, U.S. Poet Laureate

Pulitzer Prize winner and celebrated American master N. Scott Momaday returns with a radiant collection of more than 200 new and selected poems rooted in Native American tradition.

“The poems in this book reflect my deep respect for and appreciation of words. . . . I believe that poetry is the highest form of verbal expression. Although I have written in other forms, I find that poems are what I want and need most to read and write. They give life to my mind.”

One of the most important and unique voices in American letters, distinguished poet, novelist, artist, teacher, and storyteller N. Scott Momaday was born into the Kiowa tribe and grew up on Indian reservations in the Southwest. The customs and traditions that influenced his upbringing—most notably the Native American oral tradition—are the centerpiece of his work.

This luminous collection demonstrates Momaday’s mastery and love of language and the matters closest to his heart. To Momaday, words are sacred; language is power. Spanning nearly fifty years, the poems gathered here illuminate the human condition, Momaday’s connection to his Kiowa roots, and his spiritual relationship to the American landscape.

The title poem, “The Death of Sitting Bear” is a celebration of heritage and a memorial to the great Kiowa warrior and chief. “I feel his presence close by in my blood and imagination,” Momaday writes, “and I sing him an honor song.” Here, too, are meditations on mortality, love, and loss, as well as reflections on the incomparable and holy landscape of the Southwest.

The Death of Sitting Bear evokes the essence of human experience and speaks to us all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062961150
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/10/2020
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 227,194
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

N. Scott Momaday was born in 1934 in Lawton, Oklahoma. A internationally renowned poet, novelist, artist, teacher, and storyteller, his accomplishments in literature, scholarship, and the arts have established him as an enduring American master. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors that include the Pulitzer Prize, a National Medal of Arts, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize. He lives in New Mexico.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Part I

Bequest 3

In the Forest 4

A Siberian Hunter, Remembrance 5

To the Farther Camps 6

A Darkness Comes 7

A Hero's Burial 8

The Kiowa No-Face Doll 9

A Sloven 10

Alaskan Games 11

A Modest Boast (Toast) 12

A Note on Animals 13

Ago 14

Division 15

The Night Sky at Coppermine 16

Song Fragments 17

For Wallace Stevens 18

The Woman Looking In 19

Transparency 20

Spectre 21

The Great Fillmore Street Buffalo Drive 22

The Snow Mare 24

The Bone Strikers 25

Yahweh to Urset 26

The Essence of Belonging 27

To an Aged Bear 28

The Bear 29

A Benign Self-Portrait 30

Prayer for Words 32

On the Cause of a Homely Death 33

The Blind Astrologers 34

The Pursuit of Man by God 35

Revenant 37

Death Comes for Beowulf 38

The Mythic Harpoon 39

Before an Old Painting of the Crucifixion 40

A Silence Like Frost 42

Angle of Geese 43

Birdsong 44

Shade 45

On the Neva 46

The Whale in Amber 48

The Dragon of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges 48

Nous avons vu la mer 49

A Chronicle 50

Before and After 51

The Theft of Identity 52

A Couplet in Tongues 53

Dictum 54

Need 55

JFK 56

Song of Longing 57

Stones 58

Poem After Lunch 59

Approach 60

English, the Language 61

A Story of Light 62

This Train 63

War Chronicle 64

The Rider of Two Gray Hills 65

Visitation at Amherst 66

Fire 67

First Poem 68

Meditation on Wilderness 69

Olga 70

The Galleries 71

Remembering Milosz and "Esse" 72

Death Song 73

Dichos 74

A Witness to Creation 75

Sobremesa 76

Appearances 77

Arrest 79

An Oasis There of Many Colors 80

Afterimage 81

The Listener 82

The First Day 83

Revision of the Plains 84

A Blooming of Appearances 87

Sweetgrass 88

Rustic Dream 89

Severance 90

Seasonal 91

Rough Rider 92

Almost Love 93

On Spring in the Alexander Gardens 94

This Morning the Whirling Wind 95

Part II

A Century of Impressions 99

Part III

The Death of Sitting Bear 122

Note (on Set-t'an Calendar Entry) 131

Set-t'an Calendar Entry 132

Susquehanna 134

Pigments 136

Linguist 138

Dancers on the Beach 139

Ultimus 140

The Spheres 141

A Presence in the Trees 142

On the Stair 143

Lines for My Daughter 144

There Came a Ghost 145

Nenets 146

A Measure of Rain 147

La tierra del encanto 148

To Gaye 149

Jornada del muerto 150

Octave 151

Yellow the Land and Sere 152

The Window Through Which the Light of a Candle Glowed 153

Torrent 154

Reconciliation 156

A Mythology of Belief 157

Northern Dawn 158

The Pilgrims 159

Babushka 160

A Woman Walking 163

Seams 164

Gamesmen 165

Prairie Hymn 166

Acknowledgments 169

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