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Susan Deer Cloud
The Last Ceremony
Georgia O'Keefe once wrote about her yearning to "kick a hole in the universe." Susan Deer Cloud does just that with these poems that make a stand in a way similar to that of her Native ancestors. Her words soar, her music and vision carry you into new universes that favor freedom, exuberance and beauty beyond all heartbreak. For that reason this Indian woman's poetry will be lasting.
Susan Deer Cloud is a writer of Blackfoot, Mohawk, Seneca heritage (Métis) who grew up in the Catskill Mountains. She is an alumna of Binghamton University where she has occasionally taught Creative Writing. Currently she is in MFA Fiction Program at UMass, Amherst.
Deer Cloud's other books of poetry are The Broken Hoop and In the Moon When the Deer Lose Their Horns. She is the editor of the multicultural anthology Confluence. She has also published poems, stories, and essays in numerous literary journals and anthologies - Rosebud, Pembroke Magazine,To Topos, Ms, Many Mountains Moving, Sojourner, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, Arizona Quarterly, Mid-American Review, Paterson Literary Review, Negative Capability, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Ladyfest*East Anthology, Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers on Community, A Nation Within: an Anthology of Native American Poetry, Listening to Water, the Susquehanna Watershed Anthology, WPFW 89.3 FM Poetry Anthology (from Public Radio's "The Poet and the Poem"), American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity, Out of the Catskills and Beyond: Literary and Visual Works by Catskill Writers and Artists, and Penguin's Unsettling America: an Anthology of Contemporary Multi-Cultural Poetry and Identity Lessons: Contemporary Writing About Learning to Be American, among others.
Deer Cloud has received awards and special recognition in literary competitions for both her poems and stories (for instance, her poem “Tree” received first prize in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Competition; her poem “Vincent Van Gogh Writes To Madame Calment From The Stars” was awarded second prize in Negative Capability's Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Competition; and two of her poems received Readers' Choice Award from Prairie Schooner). She is a recipient of a New York State Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, a Chenango County Council for the Arts Individual Artist's Grant, and is the founder of Binghamton Underground Poets, Wild Indians & Exuberant Others, Unc. (Unincorporated). Most recently she was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry (2007).
From the book:
THE ONLY CEREMONY WE HAD LEFT TO US
(for Lance Henson, Ron Welburn
& Sara Littlecrow-Russell)
I am not going to pretend. The only ceremony
we had left to us was taking rides in a dented
Chevy on dirt roads no city slickers could find.
The only ceremony left to us was stopping
at a path we mountain Indians knew about,
stepping behind one another, hands brushing
the bent ferns. The ceremony never stolen
was walking a stony trail to a cliff, where
we made our stand with oaks, spruces, maples,
a few surviving hemlocks. I am not going to lie.
We still had a family, in some ways a tribe.
But our prayer was staring across valleys
at Catskill peaks answering us
My brothers, once I dreamed
of Cheyenne stallions and Cherokee fire.
My sister, once I cried for Chippewa bear medicine
when they cut my tongue. Can I pretend otherwise?
The last ceremony left to me is riding
the broken horses of love off cliffs.
Marlon Brando Dies at 80
Half-Breed at Ten Years Old, the Great Depression
Welcome to the Land of Ma'am
You Really Have
Your America, My Turtle Island
Sexiest Tribe in America
Before Christmas That Year
Winter's End White Dream
Riding with Gold
Driving Home Tonight
Bering Strait Binary Star
The Last Words
Raven Goes to College
When I am a Tree
I Wish I Had Written This Poetry
The Dirt in the Gallery Across from the Old Whorehouse
Vincent Van Gogh Writes to Jeanne Louise Calment
Yellow Girl, I Give You
Fear of Bag Ladies
When My Oldest Brother Turns
Buffalo Nickel Makes Return
Why I Love Being an Indian
After Reading Your Snow Poems
One Good Indian Man
Rock `n Roll Ravens
The Only Ceremony We Had Left To Us
The Last Ceremony
is an 88 page hand-sewn paper book with spine - $16.00
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