The Secret Powers of Naming

Sara Littlecrow Russell

A debut collection of poems—sharply satirical, pointedly humorous and decidedly political—that considerately articulates some realities of contemporary Indian existence. There are ruins as HUD houses and broken beer bottles, dances where 10,000-year drumbeats collide with hardcore hip-hop, tourists’ misplaced harlequin-romance-novel ideas of noble savagery, the loss of native languages, Russian roulette with the only empty chamber called survival, and the incongruity of cell phones and Indian time. The poems are a linked circular journey that attempts to deal with these things and many more, by naming, calling a turd a turd. Her poetry is raw, though leavened with wry humor and a sense of the ironic and often indignant. The short, sharp yet lyrical imagistic pieces are musings that bear witness and give voice to complex emotional realizations.