Thread: Joy Harjo
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Unread 01-12-2020, 09:29 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum's Avatar
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland Maine
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Originally Posted by R. S. Gwynn View Post
The only problem with the horse as Nativist symbol is that horses, like most of us, are Eurasian-African immigrants.

Horses have to be tamed before they are of any use to people (other than as a source of food). I once read that Indians tamed them by mounting them and biting an ear.

Maybe that's a myth.
This post is exacty the fault line.

Animals aren't symbols or use items, the are people groups.
There is a spectrum of human/non-human interaction that runs from domestication to co-evolution. As we probably learned as much from our early interactions with dogs as they did from us, so an animist relation with the horse people might find them quite "useful" before taming. I don't know much about the Creek people's interaction with horses but your reduction of the relation bears little resemblance to the relation on record between hunter gatherer peoples and the animals they are most intergated with. Not that there isn't a spectrum in all peoples of awake/sensitive downward into cruel/utilitarian. But in general...My studies rely more on Siberian and Inuit peoples as well as South America and Australia but I would hazard a guess that you are way off on this.

I don't recognize your experience of her poems, to be honest. You seem entrenched in the literal and the anthrocentric. You start the work by locking yourself out of it. I don't want the thread to be a platform for you to sort of condescend to her work publically. I was just wondering if anybody was down with the importance of this kind of voice as the laureate. Or even otehr poets writing from similar worlds. Why don't you leave off with the faint praise now. We disagree.

There will be a new laureate soon I imagine. I don't put much stock in the process of laureate-ing in any case. But you verge on bad manners here. There is so much in her work that isn't centered in this sick culture. Try silence on what you don't personally fire to if burns in other minds. I have been on the wrong side of similar impulses. Trying to quit. Maybe, let it go?
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