An Eagle Nation

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A tour into Indian Country and beyond: from Santa Monica, CA to Washington D.C., the Osage Nation and Oklahoma then Oxford and the Isle of Skye.



Foreshadowing the journey in words that is to come, Revard writes in his opening chapter: “You are welcome in my books at any time, and if you are going home now, or wherever you are going, I hope you have a safe journey and a good life, and you live into the happy days…”

And with that, the reader begins a tour into Indian Country and beyond: from Santa Monica, CA to Washington D.C., the Osage Nation and Oklahoma then Oxford and the Isle of Skye. These are voyages into the minute details of places, cultures, traditions and faces.

The book is divided into three sections: “An Eagle Nation,” “Homework at Oxford,” and “Sea Changes.” His poems reflect the detailed eye of a practiced naturalist and are often almost literally a stream of consciousness rendering of his Ponca experience.

Revard is not afraid to alternate between prose and poetry, short stanzas and lengthy paragraphs. He experiments with size, structure and even font to get his message across.

The book takes its name from a poem of the same title. In “Eagle Nation,” Revard writes about a journey to the zoo with his Aunt Jewell. In one particularly memorable scene, Revard writes, with his characteristically thoughtful detail:

“Since I know only / a few words of Ponca, I can’t be sure / what she said or asked, but I caught the word / Kahgay: / Brother, she said. / The eagle opened his eyes and turned his head. / She said something else. He partly opened his beak / and crouched and looked head-on toward her, / and made a low shrill sound. / The white couple were kind of dazed, and so was I.”

Carter Revard is part Osage on his father’s side. He earned a Rhodes Scholarship and studied at Oxford University, the inspiration for the book’s second section. He taught at Washington University, St. Louis, and was a Visiting Professor at the University of Tulsa and University of Oklahoma. His scholarly work has been in medieval English literature, linguistics, and American Indian literature.

 

Author: Carter Revard

Binding Availability: Paperback

Published: 1993

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Osage