English 418: American Indian Poetry                            Janet McAdams

Spring 2006                                                                      Office: 206 Lawrence

Tues. 7-9:30                                                                    Hours: MW 4-5:30





Kimberly Blaeser, Absentee Indians & Other Poems

Joy Harjo, How We Became Human

Linda Hogan, The Book of Medicines

Simon Ortiz, From Sand Creek

Tiffany Midge, Guiding the Stars to Their Campfire, Driving the Salmon to Their Beds

Carter Revard, How the Songs Came Down: New and Selected Poems



Sherman Alexie, The Business of Fancydancing



Dean Rader and Janice Gould, Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry (abbreviated STMW on course outline)

Additional critical, historical, and personal essays photocopied or on reserve



Attendance and active participation in class discussion 10%*

Formal presentation 20%

Two short essays (1200-1500 words each) 20% each, due 2/21 & 4/4

One critical paper (2500-3000 words) 30%, due 5/5

(*or electronic discussion if needed)

Note: Late assignments are marked down 1/3 of a letter grade per day.  


Course Outline

Note: This schedule is tentative and will be adjusted according to the needs and interests of the class.


1/23- Introduction to course.


1/24- Linda Hogan, "History of Red" from The Book of Medicines; Rader & Gould, Introduction to Speak to Me Words (online at http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/boo ks/bid1508.htm

Blaeser,  "Native Literature: Seeking a Critical Center" (handout)


1/31- Hogan, Book of Medicines 


2/7- Hogan, Book of Medicines and Dwellings (selections, on reserve or photocopied);

Gould, "Poems as Maps" STMW (presentation)

Simon Ortiz, From Sand Creek

2/14- Ortiz . cont.

Dean Rader, "The Epic Lyric" in STMW (presentation)

Eric Gary Anderson, "Situating American Indian Poetry" in STMW (presentation)


 2/21- Joy Harjo, How We Became Human

Adrienne Rich, from What Is Found There (presentation)

Short Essay Due


2/28- Harjo, cont.

Chadwick Allen, Introduction to Blood Narrative (presentation)

Craig Womack, from Red on Red (presentation)


3/7-Harjo, cont.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, from Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner (presentation)

Sherman Alexie, selections




3/21- The Business of Fancydancing (film)


3/28- Discuss film

Jimmie Durham, "Cowboys and . . . " from The State of Native America (presentation)

Carter Revard, How The Songs Came Down


4/4- Revard, cont.

Revard, "Herbs of Healing" in STMW (presentation)

Short Essay Due


4/11- Revard, cont.

McAdams, "Carter Revard's Angled Mirrors" in STMW


4/18- Kimberly Blaeser, Absentee Indians

Jace Weaver, Introduction to That the People Might Live (presentation)


4/25- Blaeser, cont.

W. S.  Penn, from How We Live Now (presentation)


5/2- Tiffany Midge, Guiding the Stars


5/5- Final paper due