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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, Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz, and Wendy Rose have dominated Native American literature and theirworks have inspired much scholarly attention. The importance of these writers in the establishment of Native American literature cannot be denied; however, new voices are necessary to continue to build the canon of Native American literature and to en­ rich American literature at large. Anna Lee Walters’ anthology introduces voices who represent new blood in literature written by Native Americans. MARIE SCHEIN Tarrant CountyJunior College The Great Central Valley: California’s Heartland. A Photographic Project by Stephen Johnson and Robert Dawson. Text by Gerald Haslam. (Berkeley: University of California Press in Association with the California Academy of Sciences, 1993. 254 pages, $50.00/$30.00.) This handsome book combines the efforts of three Central Valley natives, two of whom, Johnson and Dawson, began work on its graphic component in 1982. After four years of field work and the accumulation of some 10,000 negatives, they exhibited a selection of 114 photographs imaging the valley, its people, and its products, first at the California Academy of Sciences and then, 378 WesternAmerican Literature for two more years, elsewhere within the state. The present work, a bargain in hard or soft cover, brings together most of the original exhibit along with many photographs that did not make the initial cut; it also includes beautifully produced relief maps, charts, engravings, and text vignettes. Some of the images—for example, a portfolio of early photographs that suggest the charac­ ter of the all but extinct native American valley residents and reveal their genetic homogeneity—are illuminating, unforgettable. Others, such as the reproductions of brilliantly colored fruit box labels, are Warhol-delightful. Still others are evocative, harrowing, eerie, self-consciously artistic, documentary. Inclusiveness and variety have been the principles for selection here, with the result that the graphics convey only a few common impressions—space, pleni­ tude, the often unlovely human imprint, ethnic diversity. The photographs in the original exhibit were arranged in two core group­ ings, one “historical,” the other subdivided according to the words on an illuminated welcoming sign that spans Highway 99 in a rainbow arc at the edge of Modesto: Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health. But in The Great Central Valley the images have been rearranged to complement a text, eight chapters by Gerald Haslam that sketch the valley’s history, sublocales, events, and person­ ages, touch on major issues confronting the region, and speculate about its future. LikeJohnson, Haslam makes a virtue of multifacetedness. He writes as a crossdisciplinary purveyor of specialized lore and statistics, as recounter of interviews, as arbiter of valley residents’ conflicting views, and, throughout...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 377-378
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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