University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Reading with Gerald Vizenor: New Native Narratives, Spring 2007

AmIn 4990-002; AmSt 3920-004; EngL 3090-009, 1 credit
Tuesdays, 6:20-8:00 p.m.March 19-May 1
4 Scott Hall
Instructor: Joseph Bauerkemper. Gerald Vizenor will attend one session.

“The books have voices. I hear them in the library,” writes Diane Glancy in Designs of the Night Sky. “I know the voices are from the books. Yet I know the old stories do not like books. Do not like the written words. Do not like libraries. The old stories carry all the voice of those who have told them. When a story is spoken, all those voices are in the voice of the narrator. But writing the words of a story kills the voices that gather in the sound of the storytelling. The story is singular then. Only one voice travels in the written words. One voice is not enough to tell a story. Yet I can hear a voice telling its story in the archives of the university library. I hear the books. Not with my ears, but in my imagination. Maybe the voices camp in the library because the written words hold them there. Maybe they are captives with no place else to go.”

This special course considers five innovative, emergent novels and avant-garde narratives. The authors of these original narratives create styles that portray unusual and diverse characters, experiences, and points of view in stories that arise from inseparable, actuated traditions past and present; a wide range of literary styles that register, construct, and depict a native perception and ethos of survivance in literature.

Required reading list:

  • Diane Glancy, Designs of the Night Sky
  • Stephen Graham Jones, Bleed into Me
  • Eric Gansworth, Mending Skins
  • Frances Washburn, Elsie’s Business
  • Gerald Vizenor, Hiroshima Bugi: Atumu 57

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