A Breeze Swept Through

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Luci Tapahonso writes poetry that teaches how to stand up to intimidation; how to grieve and how to not give a damn. Her poetic voice is strong and gentle—speaking for all women in Native America.



Luci Tapahonso writes poetry that teaches how to stand up to intimidation; how to grieve and how to not give a damn. Her poetic voice is strong and gentle—speaking for all women in Native America. This Navajo poet combines the old wisdom with a new cultural symbolism: she writes about a date in an Albuquerque bar on a warm spring night, about childbirth, “the boots” that mean she’s going somewhere, car accidents and transcending up to “the flat plateau of that other world,” and Navajo cowboys with pointed boots.

In her poem Yáadí Lá, Tapahonso recalls teaching someone a lesson in the bathroom at a powwow. She writes: “pulling hair and kicking / falling all over in loud thumps and grunts / finally ruthie ran out a little scaring looking, / bleeding some. / they brushed themselves off and went out just in time / for the women’s fancy shawl number.”

Luci Tapahonso is a Navajo Indian born in Shiprock, New Mexico. She is the author of two other books of poetry and is an assistant professor of English, Women’s Studies, and American Indian Studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She is the mother of two daughters—Misty Dawn and Lori Tazbah Ortiz.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is a member of the Flathead tribe and a painter who exhibits internationally. She is an activist and spokeswoman for both traditional and contemporary Native artists. She founded two cooperatives: the Coup Marks on the Flathead Reserve and the Grey Canyon artists in Albuquerque. She is a lecturer, consultant and curator for exhibitions in the Native community.

 

Author: Luci Tapahonso

Illustrations: By Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Binding Availability: Paperback

Published: 1987

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Navajo

Languages: English & Navajo