Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Gerald Vizenor is 2011 American Book Award Recipient

From UMN Today, article by Carolyn Gonzales

Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico Dis­tin­guished Pro­fes­sor of Amer­i­can Stud­ies Ger­ald Vizenor is the recip­i­ent of the 2011 Amer­i­can Book Award for Shrouds of White Earth. The award is pre­sented by the Before Colum­bus Foun­da­tion. The book is about con­tem­po­rary Native Amer­i­can Indian artist Dogroy Beaulieu, who reveals his story to a native writer.

Dogroy is a painter by nature, an intu­itive vision­ary artist. He cre­ates shrouds of sac­ri­ficed and cru­ci­fied ani­mals and birds, the faint traces of nat­ural motion on linen, at his stu­dio on the White Earth Nation in Min­nesota. The very sight of the shrouds tor­ments the tra­di­tional fas­cists on the reser­va­tion, and the faint traces of native totems haunt the patrons of gal­leries and cura­tors of muse­ums. “I cre­ate traces of totemic crea­tures, paint vision­ary char­ac­ters in mag­i­cal flight, native scenes in the bright col­ors of sur­vivance,” Dogroy declares.

His artis­tic sen­ti­ments and shamanic trib­ute to the shrouds, how­ever, do not pro­tect him from envi­ous ene­mies on the reser­va­tion. Dogroy is ban­ished by casino politi­cians, in fla­grant vio­la­tion of the new Con­sti­tu­tion of the White Earth Nation for his artis­tic tease, his baroque mock­ery and his ironic portrayals.

This unfor­get­table jour­ney of dis­cov­ery and cre­ativ­ity ranks as one of the finest sto­ries from the pen of the irre­sistibly witty and insight­ful Ger­ald Vizenor.

The inven­tor of inven­tion rides again. In this book, the mas­ter trick­ster takes on the dis­ci­plines of visual art, nar­ra­tive, and song in his ongo­ing cam­paign against vic­timry, to set natives upright and to insure the truth of native sur­vival. Ger­ald Vizenor is the healer of irony with his focus on the native par­a­digm. What a plea­sure to ride into Vizenor­land, where col­ors spread and horses fly. Vizenor is my cho­sen com­poser of words.” — Diane Glancy, author The Rea­son for Crows

Vizenor’s many books include Inte­rior Land­scapes, Sec­ond Edi­tion: Auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal Myths and Metaphors, also pub­lished by SUNY Press; Fugi­tive Poses: Native Amer­i­can Indian Scenes of Absence and Pres­ence; Man­i­fest Man­ners: Nar­ra­tives on Postin­dian Sur­vivance; Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57; and Sur­vivance: Nar­ra­tives of Native Pres­ence.