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Whose Myth is it Anyway? Coyote in the Poetry of Gary Snyder and Simon J. Ortiz

Whose Myth is it Anyway? Coyote in the Poetry of Gary Snyder and Simon J. Ortiz

Chapter:
(p.226) Chapter 11 Whose Myth is it Anyway? Coyote in the Poetry of Gary Snyder and Simon J. Ortiz
Source:
American Mythologies
Author(s):
Mark Shackleton
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853237365.003.0012

This chapter contrasts the poetry of Gary Snyder and Simon J. Ortiz, in particular their use of the trickster Coyote from Native American mythology. It compares examples from the work of Snyder and other ‘white shaman’ poets with selections from Ortiz's poetry to show how the former's distance from ancestral knowledge and the mythic roots of Native community identity results in an ersatz poetry written from ethnopoetic ignorance. On the other hand, Ortiz's Coyote poems speak from an Acuna Pueblo voice, an assured one that is comfortable in its play with language and subject, and which seeks no divisions between place, family, myth, and art.

Keywords:   trickster Coyote, Native American mythology, white shaman poets

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