CLAIMING BREATH by Diane Glancy

CLAIMING BREATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Glancy (the story collection Trigger Dance, 1990) won the North American Indian Prose Award for this wildly uneven grab-bag in the form of a journal: fresh language and banality, fine prose-poetry and self-indulgence. For Glancy, cut off young from her Cherokee grandmother, a connection to Native American culture seems as much willed as transmitted: After her divorce, ""I picked up my Indian heritage & began a journey toward [it]."" She explains that ""I was born between 2 heritages & I want to explore that empty space, that place-between-2-places"" through ""the breakdown of boundaries between the genres...the non-linear, non-boundaried non-fenced open-prairied words."" In pieces such as ""Ontology & the Trucker\or, The Poem Is the Road,"" Glancy succeeds: While in the boundary-world of long-distance driving, she takes ""truckers who like to be followed"" as her almost mystical guides-they become ancient herds of buffalo migrating across the prairie, broken pieces of her intuitive, part-Cherokee father, even the form and energy of her poem. But too much of the book is devoted to warmed-over feminism, a justification of Glancy's Christian beliefs, along with sometimes lame comparisons of Christianity and Native American religion, and advice to writers that's so basic one wonders whether parody was intended. A worthwhile model for those advocating women's journal writing as a road to self-actualization and for people seeking to reconnect with a lost cultural heritage; other readers will be only intermittently rewarded.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska Press