Library Journal Issue 5/Arts and Humanities

"Everything I write requires this: Alphabet." A child sees letters first, "shape distinguishing itself from its background," but soon we lose the innocence of that first encounter to ideas of sound, sequence, and sense, some fixed order separating right from wrong. In this debut, White, a Dine' (Navajo), never gives up the innocence of the icons: the stars he saw in his rattled head took the shape of the Alphabet, and "years later, my fascination for letters resulted in poems." White tries to remain true to the core, the bones, of language. His hope is to explore an indigenous thought that has been corrupted by the cultural, intellectual, and social threat that English has imposed. He thus experiments with line, space, and syntax: "A man in a black suit with a zero/ for a head follows me. He carries a gun/ shaped like language; wants me written/ and dead on the page." Such original, and even daring, ideas are clearly not intended for every reader and not meant for every collection, but for those who are up to the challenge, White's poetry will provide a curious twist.

–Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia

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