This is a poetically charged work of autobiographical retrospection, speculative memory and an artistic alternative to common constructions of identity. The influences include traditional songs, ceremonial undercurrents, dream vehicles, disparate landscapes, chemical vapors, relative longings and belief in the possibility of healing again and again even after death.
Some works herein are water-source clear, some are abstract meditative breaths, some are ironic dialogues with memorial humor and some are attempts to tease characters out into the open.
This collection is held together by relatives, fragments, an undeniable belief in the creative force of even the slightest wisp of memory.
‘Even knowing, or thinking I know, where some of these poems arose, they take me to another country. Or perhaps they show me the land and people I know in another light, a dreamscape charmed by powerful songs. Not just songs and charms and dreams, though. Gordon Henry’s poems and autobiographical prose interludes defy and resist all labels. As he writes, he is not “... sun priest; trickster, nationalist, exile or anthropocentric; psycho-dramatizer, or dishwasher safe.” Still, when we read these, they will trick and mesmerize and heal and clown us toward knowing, deep blood knowing, and its humbling truths: Relatives and Home.
How can we not laugh then sob and kick this book across the room and pick it back up and kiss it and offer it smoke and let it steal our camera and give it water and make it shit outdoors and pick it up hitching and come home for its funeral and live in it like shelter?’ —Heid Erdrich
‘Gordon Henry is a writer of purity, truth, and meditative steel. Yet, there is a trickster in him, always smiling a little that you must take him so seriously; the beauty and poise in his poems is equaled only by their wit and fun.’ —Diane Wakoski