Red English: Duality and Representation in Contemporary Native American Poetics

University essay from Lunds universitet/Masterprogram: Litteratur - Kultur – Media

Abstract: This thesis explores representations of duality across the work of contemporary Native American poets. Through the use of several analytic methods and postcolonial theories, this thesis will analyse representations of language, place, and identity, and argue that they are constructed in the border between Native American and American consciousness. Firstly, Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem will be read alongside a selection of Native American poets. Through a comparative analysis, the duality that characterises Pico’s verse will be highlighted, and will place him in a tradition of indigenous poets who demonstrate that duality is a defining feature of Native American poetry. Secondly, an in-depth analysis of language in Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas will be made, and connections with Nature Poem highlighted. Long Soldier’s work demonstrates the complicated relationship between Native American poets and the English language, utilising linguistic and poetic methods to disrupt the hierarchical power of English in public discourse. Through analysis of these common motifs, this thesis will argue that contemporary Native American poets are forging a uniquely Native American poetics that is formed on the borders, replacing stereotypical misrepresentations with authentic representations of Native American life.

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