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Shapes of Native Nonfiction

Regular price $ 29.95

by Elissa Washuta, Theresa Warburton

University of Washington Press

7/3/2019, paperback

SKU: 9780295745756

 

"For many the phrase "Native nonfiction" inspires thoughts of the past, of timeless oral history transcriptions and dry 19th century autobiographies. In Shapes of Native Nonfiction, Washuta and Warburton explode this perspective by showcasing 22 contemporary Native writers and their provocative approaches to form. While exploring familiar legacies of personal and collective trauma and violence, these writers push, pull and break the conventional essay structure to overhaul the dominant cultural narrative that romanticize Native lives, yet deny Native emotional response. Organized into four sections inspired by different aspects of and strategies for basket weaving (Technique, Coiling, Plaiting, Twining) the essays presented here demonstrate how Native writers manipulate the shape of creative nonfiction to offer incisive observations, critiques and commentary on our political, social and cultural world. The result is an engaging anthology that introduces a variety of audiences to the true range of Native nonfiction work."

Just as a basket's purpose determines its materials, weave, and shape, so too is the purpose of the essay related to its material, weave, and shape. Editors Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton ground this anthology of essays by Native writers in the formal art of basket weaving. Using weaving techniques such as coiling and plaiting as organizing themes, the editors have curated an exciting collection of imaginative, world-making lyric essays by twenty-seven contemporary Native writers from tribal nations across Turtle Island into a well-crafted basket.

Shapes of Native Nonfiction features a dynamic combination of established and emerging Native writers, including Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Terese Marie Mailhot, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Eden Robinson, and Kim TallBear. Their ambitious, creative, and visionary work with genre and form demonstrate the slippery, shape-changing possibilities of Native stories. Considered together, they offer responses to broader questions of materiality, orality, spatiality, and temporality that continue to animate the study and practice of distinct Native literary traditions in North America.

About the Author:
Elissa Washuta (Cowlitz) is assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.
Theresa Warburton is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in American studies and English at Brown University and assistant professor of English at Western Washington University