January 2012 Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas

Small Press Highlights of 2011 Critical Mass National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors

Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas

Early Praise for Sing, includes:

"This collection is an entrance into that part of "America" without which there is no real America and not even a real United States. It is a bravura collection, a long needed Anthology of those antediluvian descendants of the Western Hemisphere."

Amiri Baraka

“Sing: Indigenous Poetry of the Americas” showcases writing of American Indian poets from the North to South in the Western Hemisphere, giving us readers a rare and direct connection into the complexity of their lives and thinking today.

—Carla Blank, co-editor, “PowWow: Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience—Short Fiction from Then to Now”

“Many of the poems in this ambitious collection remind us why we read poetry at all—to be returned to the elemental, to relish the beauty of repetition and variation, and to hear the cries of singular voices, here marginalized because of their native culture but also because of the daring announcement of their individuality”

—Billy Collins

Sometimes, an anthology will remind us of just how much the poet as editor can bring to the conception and execution of a work, turning it from a mere compilation of random poems, to a wonderfully conceived and eloquently expressed grand poem of multiple voices, that is marked by all the qualities we want in the best poems: passion, risk, daring, grace, imagination, urgency, compassion, visionary power, and profound homage to the grounding of tradition. In what can only be called a historical anthology of indigenous poets from the Americas, Allison Hedge Coke has given us, in Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, a stunning gift that is splendid because of the brilliance of the individual and eclectic poems collected, but richer for the coherent collective song that the anthology represents. This is a big fat book of endless pleasures that helps us to re-imagine America!

—Kwame Dawes, Editor of Prairie Schooner

From Canada to Chile (and Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala, the U.S., Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru too), in English, Spanish, Quecha, Wayuu, Mapuche, Comanche and more, the range of voices represented here is astounding.

Sing celebrates the life and breadth of Indigenous American poetry. This long-awaited anthology is a beautiful and necessary treasure.

—Camille T. Dungy, editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry and author of Smith Blue

I will sing this book to my children. I will give this book to my cadre, the ones that dreamt it in the sixties when they journeyed thousands of miles in search of it. And I will pour it over my face – to behold its Victory Dance and “ghost roads awakened,” its salmon climb and “hugging duendes,” its songs of dignity and its split moons sewn back into one – each voice tasking the cosmos, dissolving borders and smoothing all beings from the blood and breathe to the ink-song. Here, Hedge-Coke calls us to the new cycle of Américas indigenous poetry. A monumental triumph.

- Juan Felipe Herrera,

Author of Half of the World in Light, New and Selected Poems.




Sing... es como un ánfora de plumas colocada sobre las cumbres de una expresión tanto oral como literaria que representada en varios idiomas --originarios o modernos--, convoca a un ánima sola, hechizándonos con esa sensibilidad sobre la que se han construido un carácter, una identidad y una voluntad de belleza presente en cada gesto de afirmación y resistencia ante sus más antiguos y fieros depredadores. En manos de la poeta Allison Hedge Coke, aquí palpita el canto, la música y la mejor poesía de los pueblos indígenas de las Américas.

One of the most essential anthologies of recent years, Sing is rare in scope and insight. The poems found here are a testament to the power of indigenaity and the urgency of our current moment. This book sings the hemisphere into glorious fullness, teaching us the connections between us, and the great schisms between our knowledge and our actions.

Matthew Shenoda, author of Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone

What a diverse feast of poetry! Indigenous poets from Peru, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Canada as well as the United States serve up delicious unforgettable poems. A good number of the poems are composed in indigenous languages which make this collection especially valuable.

—Leslie Marmon Silko

Allison Hedge Coke has assembled a multilingual feast of songs, bringing together established and emerging indigenous poets in South, Central, and North America. With poems presented in their original languages, this anthology is a groundbreaking collection.

—Arthur Sze, author, The Ginkgo Light

Panoramic, wise, palpable texts of beauty and vitality. This is what the world needs to wake itself up to its own better self and imagination.

Anne Waldman

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics
Naropa University

Editor and poet Allison Hedge Coke assembles this multilingual collection of Indigenous American poetry, joining voices old and new in songs of witness and reclamation. Unprecedented in scope, Sing gathers more than eighty poets from across the Americas, covering territory that stretches from Alaska to Chile, and features familiar names like Sherwin Bitsui, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Lee Maracle, and Simon Ortiz alongside international poets—both emerging and acclaimed—from regions underrepresented in anthologies.

They write from disparate zones and parallel experience, from lands of mounded earthwork long-since paved, from lands of ancient ball courts and the first great cities on the continents, from places of cold, from places of volcanic loam, from zones of erased history and ongoing armed conflict, where “postcolonial” is not an academic concept but a lived reality. As befits a volume of such geographical inclusivity, many poems here appear in multiple languages, translated by fellow poets and writers like Juan Felipe Herrera and Cristina Eisenberg.

Hedge Coke’s thematic organization of the poems gives them an added resonance and continuity, and readers will appreciate the story of the genesis of this project related in Hedge Coke’s deeply felt introduction, which details her experiences as an invited performer at several international poetry festivals. Sing is a journey compelled by the exploration of kinship and the desire for songs that open “pathways of return.”

81 poets 12 translators

© 2011 The University of Arizona Press (800) 426-3797 355 S. Euclid Ave., Suite 103, Tucson, AZ 85SI