Ever since I read The Round House (brief review here), I’ve been on the lookout for Louise Erdrich’s books. In Vermont a few weeks ago, at Brattleboro Books, I found a copy of Jacklight (1984), her first collection of poetry, which, though it’s now thirty years old, still feels fresh, full of sharp observations and unexpected turns of phrase. I’ve been reading it slowly, finishing up last week. The poems tell stories that reflect Ms. Erdrich’s Native American and German American background; several are accompanied by short, explanatory notes or epigraphs, which is a poetic practice I happen to love.
I recommend the whole collection, but this week I’ll point you toward “Turtle Mountain Reservation,” the last poem in the book. Dedicated to the poet’s grandfather, it’s a powerful meditation on heritage, aging, and change.
5 thoughts on ““the world it becomes”: Louise Erdrich’s “Turtle Mountain Reservation””
I loved The Round House and like you, am on the watch for more of hers. Though I don’t think I was aware she had a poetry collection. That would be an interesting read, I bet. Thanks for sharing!
She actually has two more collections, but this is the first. I have three or four of her novels on the shelf, and I can’t wait to read more!
I love her novels, but I’ve never read any of her poetry. Of her books, The Bingo Palace has stuck with me for a long time.
That’s good to know–I don’t have that one yet, so I’ll be on the lookout. I think you might like the poetry; most of the poems are narrative, telling small stories.
I also loved The Round House. I am reading right now, A Plague of Doves, which I am enjoying. Her writing is wonderful. She has a fair size backlist so lots to catch up on. I think she is an author who deserves more recognition and mainstream attention.