TOUCHING THE DISTANCE: Native American Riddle-Poems by Brian Swann

TOUCHING THE DISTANCE: Native American Riddle-Poems

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A companion volume to Swann's earlier collection, A Basket Full of White Eggs (1988); in this compilation, 14 haiku-like riddles are posed opposite vibrant mixed-media sculpted images that contain the answers. Most pertain to the natural world, metaphorically linking a moth's movement to a dancer in a white robe or a mosquito's high-pitched whine to the ringing of a small bell. The answer key given at the end identifies the riddle's origins, ranging from Alaska to Bolivia, but without page numbers or corresponding identification, it's clumsy to use. Many of the riddles can be found in John Bierhorst's Lightning Inside You (1992); the originality lies in the three-dimensional collage-like art pieces that employ a range of materials beyond cut paper and paint, such as shaped wire, clay, tile, and cloth, along with such everyday objects as seeds, eggshells, stones, and painted corn. Dazzling to the eyes, these pages tease the mind and jump-start the imagination.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Browndeer/Harcourt Brace