Friday, August 30, 2013

Catawba: Omens, Prayers & Songs

Catawba: Omens, Prayers & Songs – by A. Poulin, Jr.

32 Pages
Footnotes / Endnotes: No
Suitable for eReaders: Yes
5 Stars

This is a small book of poems published in 1977 by The Graywolf Press, Port Townsend, Washington. It is, unfortunately, out of print, but there are used copies to be found, and they are worth the effort to find.

In his prefatory note, Voice of a Language That Is Gone, Mr. Poulin wrote, "These are neither translations nor workings of original poems. Rather, I look upon them as "given poems" written while I was reading Frank G. Speck's Catawba Texts (Columbia University Press, 1934; A MS Press, Inc., 1969.)"

When I first heard of this book, I despaired of ever finding a copy, and when I did find it, I was thrilled beyond measure, for I am part Catawba, and this book has brought my people and me closer together.

One of my favorites is Melon Patch. I think it, or the poem opposite, was the favorite of the person who owned it before me, for the book opened to that page when I unwrapped it. If you enjoy poetry and Native American culture, look for this book.

Melon Patch

the land was good
I planted a melon patch
I drove sticks all around it
someone came to steal my melons
all my sticks turned into snakes

1 comment:

  1. I first read Catawba Omens, Prayers, & Songs while drinking a glass of Kung Fu Girl riesling at La Posada de San Juan Bautista, California. These are poems I will carry with me when traveling, and read again and again.