Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide

By Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview
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October 18, 1646 was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, as was Between Two Rivers. His book The Mama Poems won the American Book Award in 1984; Wounds Beneath the Flesh was cited by The Bloomsbury Review for best anthology of 1987. Critical writing on Kenny includes Coyote Was Here: Essays on Contemporary Native American Literary and Political Mobilization, published in Denmark, and Contemporary Literary Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Today’s Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Scriptwriters, by Christopher Giroux (Gale Research). Christopher Shaw, in Adirondac Life (Mar.–Apr. 1989), reviews Kenny’s volume Tekonwatonti/Molly Brant (1735–1795): Poems of War, a collection of over 100 poems about Molly Brant motivated by a realization that “most literature about Indians ignored Indian women, focusing instead on warriors and chiefs…particularly ironic in the case of the Iroquois, since Iroquois society is matrilineal” (Shaw 41). Of the poems, Kenny said, ‘[S]he loomed up and said ‘here I am, do something with me.’… Molly has been speaking through me. She’s almost my alter-ego” (Shaw 41). Examining the historical and personal themes, Shaw speaks of the collection as a “biographical narrative ‘in the round,’ composed of more than 100 poems written in the voices of Molly and other important figures of her life and period…. [T]he structure of the work resembles that of Kenny’s Blackrobe…nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1982…. The cumulative impact of the poems in Tekonwatonti: Poems of War is epic…. Kenny’s work may be the closest thing to Homer yet produced in the American idiom” (Shaw 41). Kenny’s latest collection of poetry, In the Time of the Present, is extolled by reviewer Neil Baldwin (author of Legends of the Plumed Serpent) as a celebration of everyday life: “Spirituality as a way of life, respect for nature, sharing with others within as extended family, living in the present—these traditional Native values are represented in Kenny’s work…. I have appreciated Maurice Kenny’s reverence for the tradition of ‘contact’ in his writing…. His voice so long ago achieved warmth, humility, and indispensable authenticity. And—source of constant wonder for his sensitive readers—he manages to be peripatetic yet rooted” (blurb).


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Works by Maurice Kenny

Poetry

The Hopeless Kill. Watertown: Watertown Daily Times, 1956.

Dead Letters Sent and Other Poems. New York: Troubador Press, 1958.

With Love to Lesbia. Orono: Aardvark Press, 1959.

And Grieve, Lesbia. Orono: Aardvark Press, 1960.

North: Poems of Home. Marvin: Blue Cloud Quarterly, 1977.

Dancing Back Strong the Nation: Poems. Marvin: Blue Cloud Quarterly Press, 1979.

I Am the Sun. Buffalo: White Pine Press, 1979.

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