A Bridge Dead in the Water

A Bridge Dead in the Water

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A dead bridge. A dead theory. The Bering Strait theory, dead to Native peoples, whose hundreds of creation accounts dispel those of anthropologists. This new collection by Mohawk poet, James Thomas Stevens, was written after a trip to China in 2002. After visiting the Catholic Xujiahui cathedral across from his hotel, he began research on Jesuit interactions with Asia. What he encountered there in the cathedral and in museums in Shanghai, was reminiscent of the history of Jesuits in his home in Iroquoia, especially in the Mohawk homelands along the Saint Lawrence River.

The first poem in the collection, (dis)Orient, addresses issues of charting and mapping, as well as issues of authority. It leads to short poems written in and about China, then on to the central poem, The Mutual Life, a poem of post-colonial and personal emergencies - a poem of healing, as well, based on a 1901 book of accidents, emergencies and illnesses published by the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. The poems proceeding are poems written in and about Iroquoia.

They are followed by my most recent undertaking, Alphabets of Letters, which explores the propaganda found in Native American children's primers from the time of our honored Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant, and the propaganda of rhetoric in general. This poem explores the rhetoric of empire and the short distance our world has moved toward understanding and communication in these past few centuries.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 120 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 7mm | 158.76g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • No
  • 1844712702
  • 9781844712700
  • 1,193,822

Table of contents

Three Translations from Characters Found on a Lovers Body
Five Poems from the Paintings of Lang Shining:
Eight Horses
Dog Under Flowers
The White Gibbon
Pheasants among Rocks and Flowers
The Time-Telling Plant from the West
Imagining Shanghai: 3 Poems:
The Mutual Life
A Species of Martyrdom: The Huronia Series:
Jean de Brebeuf
Gabriel Lalemant
Anthony Daniel
Rene Goupil
Jean de Lalande
Isaac Jogues
Noel Chabanel
Charles Garnier
Lacrosse Night-Iroquoia
Tonawanda Swamps
The Awful Ease of Tides
Alphabets of Letters
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About James Thomas Stevens

James Thomas Stevens is the author of four books of poetry, Tokinish (First Intensity Press 1994), Combing the Snakes from His Hair (Michigan State UP 2002), and (dis)Orient (Palmpress, 2005), Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations (Subpress, 2006), and one forthcoming, The Mutual Life (Plan B Press, 2006). He is a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk tribe, attended the Institute of American Indian Arts and The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa and holds an MFA from Brown University.
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18 ratings
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