American Indian Poetry: An Anthology of Songs and Chants

Edited by George W. Cronyn
Original Copyright 1918, this edition 1991
Checked out 6 times in 19 years
Last checked out 6 years ago

This book is a combination of ethnography (which was how the work was collected) and literature (in that it’s presented and translated as literature). Reading both the forward and the introduction are important to understanding what’s in the book.

This is a nice book to have on the shelf but it’s largely historical. It’s no replacement for an anthology of contemporary Native American poetry. Unfortunately, the most recent “contemporary” anthology that I can find after a cursory internet search is one from 1988. While it still has some wonderful poetry in it, it’s not truly contemporary any longer. So a new such anthology is overdue and it would be a good idea for libraries to be on the look out for it.

Because of its historical value and the diversity component it provides a collection, I recommend keeping this volume. There are also a fair number of people in Marshall County who identify with their Native American heritage.

One of the primary contributions of Native literature to American poetry generally is the art of the chant. This book could be used to generate poetry writing exercises incorporating chants for poets of any age or ability.


About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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