“Long Soldier, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, troubles our consideration of the language we use to carry our personal and national narratives in this moving debut poetry collection.”
Featured in New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2017.
“Thrillingly, we seem to be upon a moment in contemporary poetry wherein young women of color feel empowered to gather the forms, sounds and spirits of their ancient languages and rework them into pieces of weaponry.”
Featured in NPR’s Book Concierge Great Reads of 2017.
“This bold debut explores how the English language has been used to circumscribe and denigrate Native Americans, stripping them of their humanity and, via treaties with the federal government, of their land, as well.”
Featured in Washington Post’s Best Poetry Collections of 2017.
WHEREAS Poems by Layli Long Soldier is a collection of brilliant pieces by the named author. Her writing is distinctive and clear even across the pages that she has created.
She hooks readers in with just the first line. The short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions and disclaimers highlight and challenge the responses, treaties, and apologies of the American government to the Native American people. The words reveal them to speak a language of officiousness and deceit, and forces the examination of Native American histories and interaction with the American government.
The praise for this author’s work in WHEREAS is astounding!
“WHEREAS is an excavation, reorganization and documentation of a structure of language that has talked the United States through its many acts of violence. . . . She has built a poetics that refuses . . . boundaries. . . . Long Soldier’s poems are radical in structure and constraint. . . . WHEREAS challenges the making and maintenance of an empire by transforming the page to withstand the tension of an occupied body, country and, specifically an occupied language. . . . Long Soldier reminds readers of their physical and linguistic bodies as they are returned to language through their mouths and eyes and tongues across the fields of her poems.”―The New York Times Book Review
“Using elliptical prose, blank spaces, crossed-out text, and Lakota words, Long Soldier articulates both her identity and her literary undertaking.”―The New Yorker
“Writers who live between two languages face an extra challenge in their role as lexicographers of metaphor. . . . Layli Long Soldier manages this double-ness with the precision of a master glassblower. . . . You do not slip into this book on silken bolts of easy beauty, but scratch yourself raw on language disassembled into glittering shards.”―Los Angeles Times