The Cold-And-Hunger Dance

The Cold-And-Hunger Dance

The Cold-And-Hunger Dance

The Cold-And-Hunger Dance


Influenced by her rich Cherokee heritage & Christian faith, this author's writing, like her multicultural background, is simultaneously liminal & transcendent. Being a "marginal voice in several worlds" does not victimize her but empowers her "to tell several stories at once." She describes this migratory process of Native storytelling & the narrative multivocality it produces as a "cold-&-hunger dance." The Cold-&-Hunger Dance, her boldest & most stimulating collection of essays to date, is an imaginative & honest account of journeys to & from the margins of memory, everyday life, & different cultural worlds. Along the way, familiar images & concepts are juxtaposed to create a literary terrain both engaging & unsettling: the Bible & Black Elk Speaks converse; the author's dispute with a local bakery is played out as if on a world stage of warring nations; eggs & cultural identity implicate each other; lost Native languages speak powerfully through their silences to modern Native writers. The creative twists & darting metaphoric excursions engendered by this journey provide an intimate glimpse into the process & problematics of language for modern Native authors.


I've got wooden eggs in a wire hen hanging in my kitchen. One egg, from Germany, has a few letters of the alphabet on it. It was designed by a group of Gypsy women because they were losing their language.

I have a speckled egg, an egg with dalmatian spots, a cedar egg, an Italian glass egg from Venice, a Russian egg, an Easter egg, a carnelian Chinese egg with a carved design.

The yard is full of trees. The wire hen is full of eggs. Stoic eggs. Eggs of faith. I have a geometric beaded egg from a Peyote culture, the beads held with beeswax. Jagged reds and greens as trees in the yard. As old gasoline pumps. The trees step out of fields. The cows and crops move over.

There is a blue reindeer with jags of lightning.

My spurs jangle as I pump gas.

I am a marginal voice in several worlds. I can tell several stories at once. Mixed-blood stories of academic life and the experience of Christianity. Nothing fitting with anything else. The word community has always meant being left out. But in the cold-and-hunger dance, the voice is one story holding the disparate parts.

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