Whereas confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations. “I am,” she writes, “a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation—and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” This strident, plaintive book introduces a major new voice in contemporary literature. Presented by Point Reyes Books and Black Mountain Circle.
About Layli Long Soldier holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA with Honors from Bard College. She is on the English faculty at Diné College. She has served as a contributing editor to Drunken Boat. Her poems and critical work have appeared in The American Poet, The American Reader, The Kenyon Review Online, American Indian Journal of Culture and Research, PEN America, The Denver Quarterly and The Brooklyn Rail, among others.