Written from a contemporary Cherokee, Queer, and mixed-race
experience, "Walking with Ghosts: Poems" confronts the legacy of
land-theft, genocide, and forced removal of Cherokees from their
homelands, while simultaneously resisting ongoing attacks on both
indigenous and gay/ lesbian/ bisexual /transgender (GLBT)
communities. The debut work of Qwo-Li Driskill, a young Cherokee
poet also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee, and Osage ancestries,
these poems move across Cherokee history. From the infamous Trail
of Tears and the Allotment Act to the Indian boarding school system
and contemporary manifestations of racism, these poems reach into
Cherokee collective memory asking its readers to not only remember
the history of colonization, but also the survival and continuance
of Indigenous Nations. With this collection Driskill, who
identifies as queer as well as two-spirit (a contemporary term used
in North American indigenous communities to describe diverse sexual
and gender identities) becomes one of only a few of American Indian
queer/two-spirit male writers in print.; Refusing to compromise
identities, Driskill also grapples with the impact of hate crimes
on GLBT communities, multiracial and multi-tribal identity, the
AIDS crisis, psychic trauma, and war. Yet the poems in this
collection are rooted in a sense of love and the power of words to
heal the legacies of colonization and other forms of violence.
Cherokee love poems weave into eulogies to the dead while ghosts
draw the living into a place of wholeness. Tender, startling,
confrontational and erotic, this book honors the dead and brings
the survivors back home.
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