$29.95

Shapes of Native Nonfiction

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UPC: 9780295745756
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Edited by: Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton
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  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (July 3, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295745754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295745756
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches

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.

Reviews

"In this anthology, shape matters. It turns the essay into a resistant form, pushing against the myth of the 'disappearing Native' and asserting a new narrative, one that isn't subject to colonizing. . . . Shapes of Native Nonfiction is full of cognitive and emotional work. It turns the essay into something alive and breathing."―Cincinnati Review

"The medium is the message in this formally daring anthology of essays from Native writers, organized into basket-weaving themes such as 'coiling' and 'plaiting.' In these 27 essays by writers hailing from multiple tribal nations, some established and some newcomers, the Native experience is interrogated, elucidated, and celebrated."―Esquire

"I love essay collections, and those that in some way address the essay form itself are my favorite. . . . There is tremendous variety on offer here, both in terms of subject and tone."―Book Riot

"It's not hard to imagine this work as a staple of creative writing course syllabi for years to come. A must for any library."―Library Journal

"In gathering contemporary Native nonfiction, this book elucidates the roots of the form-conscious essay and brings together the exciting current work of Native writers. In a sweeping decolonizing gesture, this anthology challenges the nonfiction canon as it's been taught and creates a porous new space in its place."―Essay Daily

"The first collection of Native nonfiction organized with the explicit intent of highlighting Native writing as world-making. This book offers us nonfiction that reflects, interrogates, critiques, imagines, prays, screams, and complicates simplistic notions about Native peoples and Native lives."―Malea Powell, professor and chair, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, and faculty in American Indian and Indigenous studies, Michigan State University

"Shapes of Native Nonfiction is exciting, fresh, and profound. It provides the space for native nonfiction to be indigenous, without the pressure to "perform" indigeneity. The writing gets to be weird, joyful, wounded, flip, deep, unflinching, terrified, and secure. Expression over cultural expectation. I turn to it and return to it, delighted each time."―Tommy Pico

Author

Elissa Washuta
Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, 4Culture, Potlatch Fund, and Hugo House. Elissa is an assistant professor of English at the Ohio State University.