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376 WesternAmerican Literature tude of place or mind. Some came to Idaho specifically to be hermits, to isolate themselves from the entrapments of civilization: law and order, diet, domestic­ ity. Some, like Wheelbarrow Annie, found seclusion to be a great and good companion and wed it for better or for worse. Through research and byhaving a good ear for story, Conley captures these persons as legend and as character. His journalistic-styled essays tell the tales and refine the facts. He has recorded more than “Hermits, Solitaires, and Individualists.”He has fleshed out a time, an atmosphere, when the quirky, selfreliant person trusted that distance and seclusion go hand-in-hand. A notion much proved by Beaver Dick, Buckskin Bill, The Hermit ofImpassable Canyon, The Ridgerunner, and Dugout Dick. A notion unattested by the Wildhorse Cowgirl and Free Press Frances; yet, a notion too soon in its dotage for the Outback Outlaw, Claude Dallas, who murdered two Idaho Fish and Game Officers in 1981. For Dallas, the Wild West wasn’t over. At the heart of Idaho Loners is what every reader might expect and want: these strange and sometimes unruly individuals have left or are leaving their mark on Idaho and the imagination of Idahoans. There is an undercurrent throughout that suggests the familiaritywith which Idahoans relate their knowl­ edge of these peculiar folks who live, principally, in Idaho’s Outback. This is a book about characterand characters. Each coot conjured up is unique of mind and spirit: Cougar Dave, The Cove Recluse, even the good All-American former spy—The Poet. And to help the reader settle in and believe the truth, there are pictures and map. The pictures are specific, life-giving images of the characters, often with their remote locale as backdrop. The map is less specific, just enough to jumpstart a curious reader stranded along a dirt road. Idaho Loners: Hermits, Solitaires, and Individualists is a handsome book, informative, and well worth reading. WILLIAM STUDEBAKER CollegeofSouthern Idaho Neon Pow-Wow: New Native American Voices of the Southwest. Edited by Anna Lee Walters. (Flagstaff: Northland Publishing, 1993. 131 pages, $12.95.) This anthology groups the works of twenty-three writers from New Mexico and Arizona and was inspired bythe tremendous success ofthe 1992 “Returning the Gift” conference that brought together hundreds of Native American writers. The selections in this anthology focus on the importance of storytelling as the principle agent for the survival of the Native American culture. The first selection is a prose poem by Della Frank (Navajo) which begins with these words of affirmation, “I am that which is: A Navajo Person” and Reviews 377 proceeds to define what it means to be Navajo. The poem presents one of the most important themes in Native American literature today, namely the search for a sense of identity. Indeed, all the poems and stories included in this anthology form a kaleidoscope that strives to define the Native American culture through its traditions as well as through the somber reality of life for Native Americans today. Several selections stand out in this anthology. Carlson Vicenti’s story “Hitching,” set in Colorado, presents a demoralizing vignette of urban life, plagued by pollution, destruction, and intolerance. Also disturbing is the story “Neon Pow-Wow” which has inspired the titled of the anthology and which points to the destructive effects of alcoholism on Native Americans. Esther G. Belin’s prose poem “Blues-Ing on the Brown Vibe” features the traditional Southwestern trickster figure Coyote making his way through what the poet calls “navajoland.” Lorenzo Boca’s “Ten Rounds” offers a visual as well as a spiritual experience. The poem is composed of ten lines; each line is written in a circle and provides an insight into Native American world views. Many stories retell traditional myths or legends such as “WhyThere Are Blackberries Around Cedar Trees.”Vee F. Browne’s “How To Be A Southwest Indigenous Writer” is an inspiring and humorous essay that offers a parody ofthe traditional image of the writer to which is added a generous pinch of Indian humor. For the past twenty-five years, writers such as N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, James Welch, Louise Erdrich...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 376-377
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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