KIVI SPEAKS by Virginia C. Cultice


Email this review


The song, as it were, of an Eskimo child whose ""empty family"" does not sing during a hungry winter. ""Come, whale, where are you hiding?/ Come seals, walrus, to us now."" Kivi calls, and remembers other times when the spirits sent his father animals. Then ""Innuk paddles through rolls of fog. . . . Prepare to feel his spear,/ Oh whiskered dangerous one"". . .and, when Innuk (Kivi's father) succeeds, all ""Sing, sing, sing with happy hearts/ Of the coming of the walrus."" Despite an occasional cliche (""Hunger stalks the land"") Cultice generally avoids false notes, awkwardness and poetical excesses, but it takes more than devices like repetition (""I remember I remember"") and sentence inversion (""Delicious is the taste of walrus"") to make a song, and Marshall's pale pink, blue, gray and white free-form sketches (blobs?) likewise fail to evoke the elemental quality of either Eskimo carving (as perhaps intended) or the Arctic life and landscape.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1975
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard