“Dream Drawings: Configurations of a Timeless Genre”, by N. Scott Momaday


“Dream Drawings: Configurations of a Timeless Genre”, by N. Scott Momaday.

I heard Kiowa writer and Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday say in his beautifully deep, musical voice that he believes poetry is the highest form of expression and that he aspires to be a poet – modest words for the native elder who is the honored grandfather of 20th and 21st century Native American literature.

In “Dream Drawings: Configurations of a Timeless Kind,” Momaday’s new collection, poetry, fiction, essays, and scholarly research are juxtaposed with selected black-and-white sketches, words, and images on a page that live and breathe in the as they are read. This genre-blending expression of Momaday’s love for language, dreams, and the creative process is playful, childish, timeless and timeless all at once.

The 100 poems and short sketches in this collection — of encounters with other human beings and the creatures and terrains of the Earth; memories of Momaday and tribal stories and sacred stories; world events, past and present; and the deep spiritual reflection of an Indigenous man who has observed and pondered these things with the growing wisdom that accompanies decades of life on the formation of layered stories of material and immaterial goods – are as simple and complex as our existence collective.

Each is a little gem, a glass seed that is part of the pattern of a piece of Indigenous beadwork: in and of itself, it has its own character and texture, its own beauty and wholeness. Woven or sewn into the pattern created by the artist, the individual beads anchor the art together and become the pattern that tells the larger story.

“Dream designs” can be read cover to cover, start to finish, much like a piece of beadwork is constructed and the intricacies of the pattern become a design that is whole. Reread and cherish, the book can be kept in the chair or at the bedside and a piece that has become a favorite of the day or the minute revisited.

This reviewer can first read, every time, the loving depth of “To a Child This Gift,” then randomly back and forth with N. Scott Momaday, whose voice will be in every lyrical configuration of words.

Tribune press service


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