Almost Ashore is a selection of new imagistic poems, crucial scenes and nurtured sentiments of survivance, and a section of original haiku poems. Many of the selected poems are situated in woodland landscapes, treelines and shorelines, a natural sense of presence, and concentrate by chance, image and irony on the experiences of Native American Indians. The haiku scenes are similar to the images and tease of nature in Anishinaabe dreams songs. Once, worlds apart in time and place, these imagistic practices are the mythic connections of natural reason and aesthetic survivance in Almost Ashore.
‘Tricksters and Shadows. Bears and Crows. Tribal memories and modern cities. Gerald Vizenor calls upon a wondrous repertoire in Almost Ashore. These three verse gatherings sharpen the eye, tease and provoke in their torque. Above all they speak in Vizenor’s own unique voice – history, nature, the footfalls of Native America. Anyone half-familiar with his storytelling will be quick to recognize a shared daring of imagination and image. This, in his perhaps best-known signature phrase, is “postindian” poetry to take hold of, to learn from and relish.’ —A. Robert Lee
‘In his latest collection of selected poems, Vizenor looks back in native history to treaties and “cruel distances in cultural dominance.” He then closes those distances with tribute to the native storiers who provided survivance. There is a new poignancy in these poems, in the personal history of his father's death and unmarked grave. Vizenor visits his treelines in different forms, from haiku to narrative. These poems go down like butter, but there are barbs in the smoothness of Vizenor’s writing. This writing is his native tease, his natural duty.’ —Diane Glancy
‘Word-touchstones and iconic symbols of his tribal ancestry (birch, blue, spruce, crane, cat, dance, cruel, stories, tease – to name a few) are layered within the poems throughout the book, resonating with a lifetime of Vizenor’s obsessions. Vizenor’s poetry is worth reading for his poetic mastery of the image, sonic integrity and precise lines, and because this compassionate trickster has the transformative capacity to enlighten.’ —Jerry D. Mathes II
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