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Bone Light

Orlando White

Publication Year: 2009

In Bone Light, Orlando White's debut volume, he explores the English language from a Diné (Navajo) perspective. He invites us to imagine that we, as a people—all people in this imaginary country called the United States—are speaking an Indigenous language and that the English language exists merely as a remnant of the colonial past. Despite its tenuous existence in this re-imagined present, English remains a danger to Indigenous thought, as it threatens to impose an alien worldview through its vocabulary and syntactical maneuvers. Historically, English was used by non-Natives to document Indigenous cultures; against this historical backdrop, White also writes to document, but he works to create something more beautiful than harmful. He does not attempt a critique of the English language; he works with it and against it to gain a better understanding of its peculiarities and limits, creating a relationship through these sometimes humorous, sometimes irreverent acts of exploration. Throughout Bone Light, Orlando White approaches the English language as if he has just encountered it, as if it were a mysterious set of symbols. Focusing on the particles of the language, the punctuation marks, the letters, the spaces between words, he turns them a while in his hand like strange inexplicable artifacts from a lost world, then sets to work, refashioning them into something he can use.

Published by: Red Hen Press

Frontispiece

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Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments, Dedication

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To See Letters

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pp. 13-14

Sentence

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pp. 15

The i is a Cricket

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pp. 16-17

Bone Light

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pp. 18-19

Fill in the Blank

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pp. 20-21

Ats’íísts’in

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pp. 22

Light Bulb Eye

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pp. 23

Dissolve

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pp. 24

Circle Shape

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pp. 25

Open Dark

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pp. 26

Bleach Ink

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pp. 27

Human Clock

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pp. 28-29

From Skin to Bone

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pp. 30-31

Blank Circle

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pp. 32-33

On the Zero’s Eye

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pp. 34

Skin of a Letter

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pp. 35

Skeleton

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pp. 36-37

Square Lips

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pp. 38-39

Imperative

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pp. 40-42

Images of Myself

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pp. 43

Bone Milk

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pp. 44-45

Blank Skull

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pp. 46

Analogy

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pp. 47

Lower Case i and j

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pp. 48-49

i Without j

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pp. 50

i Next to j

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pp. 51

i-j

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pp. 52-53

Ars Poetica

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pp. 54-55

Discourse

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pp. 56-57

Dot Fly

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pp. 58

Meditation

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pp. 59

Quietus

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pp. 60


E-ISBN-13: 9781597093781
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597091350
Print-ISBN-10: 1597091359

Page Count: 64
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: First