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Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear

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The definitive collection from a groundbreaking Native American poet whose work traces the fault lines between past and present, real and surreal, comedy and tragedy to unveil a transcendent new vision of the world    Hailed by the Bloomsbury Review as “the nation’s foremost contemporary Native American poet” and by Sherman Alexie as “the best poet in Indian Country,” Ray The definitive collection from a groundbreaking Native American poet whose work traces the fault lines between past and present, real and surreal, comedy and tragedy to unveil a transcendent new vision of the world    Hailed by the Bloomsbury Review as “the nation’s foremost contemporary Native American poet” and by Sherman Alexie as “the best poet in Indian Country,” Ray Young Bear draws on ancient Meskwaki tradition and modern popular culture to create poems that provoke, astound, and heal.   This indispensable volume, which contains three previously published collections—Winter of the Salamander (1979), The Invisible Musician (1990), and The Rock Island Hiking Club (2001)—as well as Manifestation Wolverine, a brilliant series of new pieces inspired by animistic beliefs, a Lazy-Boy recliner, and the word songs Young Bear sang to his children, is a testament to the singularity of the poet’s talent and the astonishing range of his voice.  


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The definitive collection from a groundbreaking Native American poet whose work traces the fault lines between past and present, real and surreal, comedy and tragedy to unveil a transcendent new vision of the world    Hailed by the Bloomsbury Review as “the nation’s foremost contemporary Native American poet” and by Sherman Alexie as “the best poet in Indian Country,” Ray The definitive collection from a groundbreaking Native American poet whose work traces the fault lines between past and present, real and surreal, comedy and tragedy to unveil a transcendent new vision of the world    Hailed by the Bloomsbury Review as “the nation’s foremost contemporary Native American poet” and by Sherman Alexie as “the best poet in Indian Country,” Ray Young Bear draws on ancient Meskwaki tradition and modern popular culture to create poems that provoke, astound, and heal.   This indispensable volume, which contains three previously published collections—Winter of the Salamander (1979), The Invisible Musician (1990), and The Rock Island Hiking Club (2001)—as well as Manifestation Wolverine, a brilliant series of new pieces inspired by animistic beliefs, a Lazy-Boy recliner, and the word songs Young Bear sang to his children, is a testament to the singularity of the poet’s talent and the astonishing range of his voice.  

40 review for Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear

  1. 5 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    REVIEW: MANIFESTATION WOLVERINE by Ray Young Bear Readers who love exploring the vast intricacies of the English language but find most poetry difficult and time-consuming deserve to be introduced to the imaginative creativity of Ray Young Bear, a Native American poet and musical artist whose poetry makes the language both sing and dance. MANIFESTATION WOLVERINE includes the earlier collections, WINTER OF THE SALAMANDER; THE INVISIBLE MUSICIAN; and THE ROCK ISLAND HIKING CLUB; as well as new piec REVIEW: MANIFESTATION WOLVERINE by Ray Young Bear Readers who love exploring the vast intricacies of the English language but find most poetry difficult and time-consuming deserve to be introduced to the imaginative creativity of Ray Young Bear, a Native American poet and musical artist whose poetry makes the language both sing and dance. MANIFESTATION WOLVERINE includes the earlier collections, WINTER OF THE SALAMANDER; THE INVISIBLE MUSICIAN; and THE ROCK ISLAND HIKING CLUB; as well as new pieces.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley. I don’t usually request poetry ARCs because I read poetry slowly, which, to be honest, is how it should be read outside of epic poetry. This means, unless the collection is small, I tend to read a few poems each day over a period of time. I am, however, trying to deepen my knowledge of Native American and First Peoples history and literature, largely because I love Inuit and Zuni artwork. (Seriously, my first trip to Montreal where I actually got a good look at sev Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley. I don’t usually request poetry ARCs because I read poetry slowly, which, to be honest, is how it should be read outside of epic poetry. This means, unless the collection is small, I tend to read a few poems each day over a period of time. I am, however, trying to deepen my knowledge of Native American and First Peoples history and literature, largely because I love Inuit and Zuni artwork. (Seriously, my first trip to Montreal where I actually got a good look at several Inuit pieces I was in love with the art, mostly because I knew some of the stories that were being depicted. When I brought my first piece, I literally was skipping back to the hotel). Additionally, the cover to this Open Road edition was really nice. Ray Young Bear’s poetry is the type that is both beautiful and painful. It’s particularly beautiful when Young Bear writes about nature. There is a wonderful poem, “January Gifts from the Ground Squirrel Entity”, that details the finding of nuts in his shoes, and he wonders if they are gifts because he shared peanuts earlier. “Three Views of a Northern Pike” is not only about the fish, but about how the fish can be seen in different ways, and one must ask is it just the fish that is being discussed there. The poetry is painful because it does remind one of what Native tribes lost and are still losing. Perhaps it is because of the recent articles in the New York Times concerning water shortages on reservations as well as about the high incidents of rape and abuse (of both men and women). There is anger and sadness, some poems are outright political. This doesn’t mean that the poems are still beautiful. There is “A Drive to Lone Ranger” which includes the lines “In the gradual darkness our conversation/centers on Northern Lights:/celestial messengers in green atomic oxygen”. There are also comments about white poets being accepted for writing about Native beliefs and practices, ones that were viewed from a tourist perspective and the publication world ignoring or disregard actual Native American poets. The most wonderful poems appear to those that make use of tribal songs or music. The poem itself becomes a mixture of the Native American language and English. It is written in such a way that it does capture the spirit of music. Because this collection is divided by how the poems were published (section off by book), some of the poems have notes that follow, and some notes. The notes cover a variety of topics, from Ray Young Bear’s life story to tribal customs to even a few rough drafts. This makes reading the notes well worth the time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Arielle Hebert

    I received Manifestation Wolverine free from the publisher on NetGalley. Ray Young Bear's poetry brings me to the forest, to the river, to the sky. Nature mirrors and embodies human experiences in Young Bear's writing, from the tranquility of family memory to the darkness of loneliness and loss. These poems make me want to take a long walk in the woods, on the shore, or under the stars. I grew up in the country; maybe that's why I feel a closeness to nature and its presence in writing. In the co I received Manifestation Wolverine free from the publisher on NetGalley. Ray Young Bear's poetry brings me to the forest, to the river, to the sky. Nature mirrors and embodies human experiences in Young Bear's writing, from the tranquility of family memory to the darkness of loneliness and loss. These poems make me want to take a long walk in the woods, on the shore, or under the stars. I grew up in the country; maybe that's why I feel a closeness to nature and its presence in writing. In the country, nature is not something outside of human experience. It is part of every moment of your wakefulness, and it leaks into your subconsciousness. The first and last sounds of the day and night are the songs and calls of the living world. Then, dreams become a combination of the landscapes, smells, and sounds of the natural world and the imagination. This is the place where Young Bear's poetry exists; between dreams and reality. From "Notes to The Invisible Musician": "Mesquakie people traditionally viewed dreams with [...] the sense of mystery and respect. [...] For some people, especially for those who remain true to their beliefs, these glimpses from the past and future reveal what we normally wouldn't know, couldn't know." We all have dreams we can't explain, people appearing and disappearing inexplicably–perhaps the past and future of our own or someone else's life. Family, including the memories of those that have passed on, is one of the strongest images in Young Bear's words. He talks of his grandmother's hands and of roots, a strong symbol of family and home: "if i felt / hands on my head / i'd know that those / were her hands / warm and damp / with the smell of roots," ("Grandmother," 12). The absolute vastness of the world and of nature are also embodied in these works. We are one single piece of something so great and so beyond our immediate lives: "[...] memory / is a reflection of all Afterlife, / that everything is deja vu / in Grandfather's eternal / metro cinema, that all / things / eventually return," ("The Lonely Crickets Theatre," 352). There are many themes within this vast collection that take the reader on a journey of ancestry, early demise, being resigned (or not) to one's fate, and our small place in this world. There is something for every kind of reader.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Davis

    Love his use of imagery and the way he manipulates language.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Impulse selection at the library. I liked the title and loved the cover, and hadn't been reading enough poetry lately. Early in the volume, I kept wanting to give up. This is a long book, quite a commitment, and the early poems tended to the very dark. Even given how many of the references and allusions were unfamiliar, these poems fell like stones in my heart, weighing me down and not giving much light. But I had scanned through the book randomly in the beginning, enough to get the feeling that I Impulse selection at the library. I liked the title and loved the cover, and hadn't been reading enough poetry lately. Early in the volume, I kept wanting to give up. This is a long book, quite a commitment, and the early poems tended to the very dark. Even given how many of the references and allusions were unfamiliar, these poems fell like stones in my heart, weighing me down and not giving much light. But I had scanned through the book randomly in the beginning, enough to get the feeling that I would like the later poems better, so I kept reading. In the middle I was still often tempted to put the book down, but between what I'd scanned from the end and the pleasurable jolt of recognition and familiarity whenever Bear mentioned beadwork kept me going. (I'm such a bead geek.) The actual collection entitled Manifestation Wolverine, the final collection in this book, is where things finally turned around for me. So, about the last quarter of the book I would give four, maybe five stars, and the rest three. It's hard to explain exactly the nature of the change. It's not like suddenly the poems were happy go lucky waterfalls and butterflies. They were still in the dark woods, but at least a little light was seeping in between the trees. I think mostly it was just too much to take on such a huge anthology of an unfamiliar poet. If I found a copy of just that last volume, though, I would snatch it up in a heartbeat.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm usually very picky with poetry; I often prefer the epic ones, rather than others. Manifestation Wolverine is pleasant, nostalgic and haunting at times. Each poem tells a different story, conveying ancestry, nature and memory. It has been a while since I have sat down to slowly read through poetry just for my own enjoyment. It is definitely one I will re-read, therefore I would recommend it to any poetry lovers out I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm usually very picky with poetry; I often prefer the epic ones, rather than others. Manifestation Wolverine is pleasant, nostalgic and haunting at times. Each poem tells a different story, conveying ancestry, nature and memory. It has been a while since I have sat down to slowly read through poetry just for my own enjoyment. It is definitely one I will re-read, therefore I would recommend it to any poetry lovers out there who are looking for some slow and peaceful way to spend the day.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear is a Native American look at living as a Native American in modern America. Ray A. Young Bear is a member of the Meskwaki Nation (the Red Earth People) and lives on the Meskwaki tribal settlement near Tama, Iowa. Raised by his maternal grandmother, who taught him Meskwaki customs, mythology, and language, Young Bear spoke Meskwaki as his first language and didn’t become comfortable with English until high school. Manifestation Wolver Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear is a Native American look at living as a Native American in modern America. Ray A. Young Bear is a member of the Meskwaki Nation (the Red Earth People) and lives on the Meskwaki tribal settlement near Tama, Iowa. Raised by his maternal grandmother, who taught him Meskwaki customs, mythology, and language, Young Bear spoke Meskwaki as his first language and didn’t become comfortable with English until high school. Manifestation Wolverine is a unique collection of poetry in as far as my reading has taken me. I associate Native America with great stories rather than great poetry. This collection does have the expected people of the earth and nature poems that one would expect, but it is much more than that. Ray Young Bear in many places radiates a righteous indignation with his and his people's standing in life. I did see some John Trudell emotion in his writing even though Young Bear is at least a decade past the height of the American Indian Movement. Young Bear also captures some of the problems in modern native culture with alcohol becoming a reoccurring theme. Guns play a role for protection and violence. Suicide rears its head in poems too. Suicide among Native Americans on reservation averages three times higher than the national rate. Some reservations the suicide rate is ten times the national average. There is a certain darkness that haunts life, but it seems to be offset by nature and animistic beliefs. One wonders if further removal from the modern world would bring more peace. The collection is varied in verse and style with all the poems written in free verse. The poems tend to tell stories in a traditional sense but are wedged in a different style to fit into the world outside the Native American. Perhaps it is an attempt to tell the world that Native American culture is as relevant as any other in America. This can be more clearly seen in the poem, "In Disgust and in Response to Indian -Type Poetry Written by Whites Published in a Mag Which keeps Rejecting Me." I did mention righteous indignation before. I had a bit of difficulty with this collection. I am a fan of John Trudell and his writing but even with the many train references in his work Young Bear’s poetry did not grab me in the way other poetry does. I can, however, appreciate the work and the emotion and history put into the work. This will be a collection I will read again, hopefully from a slightly different mindset, and gain more from his work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carl Williams

    Growing to understand the subtleties of another culture is never particularly easy, though sometimes—as is the case with this volume—poetry helps catch the heart of a different world view—the magic, the connections, and the challenges—better than other configuration of words. In this compilation of three previously published volumes and some new work, Ray Young Bear, a Meskwaki Native American, shares the beauty: “tonight, I encircle myself to a star and my love for the earth shimmers Likes schools Growing to understand the subtleties of another culture is never particularly easy, though sometimes—as is the case with this volume—poetry helps catch the heart of a different world view—the magic, the connections, and the challenges—better than other configuration of words. In this compilation of three previously published volumes and some new work, Ray Young Bear, a Meskwaki Native American, shares the beauty: “tonight, I encircle myself to a star and my love for the earth shimmers Likes schools of rainbow-colored fish Lighting the drowned walnut trees inside the brown flooded rivers swelling birth along the woods.” -"The Last Time They Were Here." the wisdom: “I see my grandfather kneeling before rolls of our delicately-tied belongings He instructs, "It will always be important as you travel in life to tie protections As I have just done.” -"The last Time They Were Here" and the challenges of living in a hostile world: “Exhausted and slouched into a booth like a medal sculpture, I chant-talk a glacier-welcoming song, the one that makes bullets ricochet off apparel in fire orbs.” -"Gate 132"

  9. 5 out of 5

    Raluca

    This was...different. Part creepy, part magical, it's the kind of free form poetry to read in the midst of a gale to quiet the spirits. It sounds weird, I know, but you have to read it to understand. And you need to be in a particular state of mind to really enjoy these poems, as incantatory as they may be. I have read this volume while on holiday and couldn't really get into it. Now that I'm back at work, it feels oddly compelling, because, y'know, "there has been someone floating around here / This was...different. Part creepy, part magical, it's the kind of free form poetry to read in the midst of a gale to quiet the spirits. It sounds weird, I know, but you have to read it to understand. And you need to be in a particular state of mind to really enjoy these poems, as incantatory as they may be. I have read this volume while on holiday and couldn't really get into it. Now that I'm back at work, it feels oddly compelling, because, y'know, "there has been someone floating around here / last night / carrying a small bundled bag / pierced by long sharp bones." I hope that explains it. *wink* Many thanks to Renata Sweeney for the DRC. Full review to come on the blog.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brent Christianson

  11. 5 out of 5

    tyto

  12. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Groulx

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Martin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zach

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie Gerhart

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Tedford

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anne Dennis

    What I hear most in Ray Young Bear’s Manifestation Wolverine are voices. His poetics bring them forth – young men, his mother, old women, old medicine— In one poem, “Catching the Distance,” he gives us his memory of medicine, of his mother, of wounds: “I was called to eat./my mother sat on the bed/with her bare back towards me./the powdery medicine rolled itself/ into the blood over her wounds./ there are plants breathing wisdom,/ offered by earth, blooming on this land./no one will give the time to l What I hear most in Ray Young Bear’s Manifestation Wolverine are voices. His poetics bring them forth – young men, his mother, old women, old medicine— In one poem, “Catching the Distance,” he gives us his memory of medicine, of his mother, of wounds: “I was called to eat./my mother sat on the bed/with her bare back towards me./the powdery medicine rolled itself/ into the blood over her wounds./ there are plants breathing wisdom,/ offered by earth, blooming on this land./no one will give the time to learn.” And in the same poem, the narrator calls down his memories, or tries to: “i see myself as a snowy haze,/drifting slightly, turning around/ always wanting to remember more./sometimes it is clear and the wind/ brings to my hand, many choices.” His poems are reminders, recollections, literally, of voices he will not allow us to forget. Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, Louise Erdrich, their poems, as well as Richard Leslie Silko’s Ceremony all come to mind – the voices singing the past into the present and future. I am reminded of Yvor Winters 1954 “At the San Francisco Airport.” I am reminded of reading this poem in 1986, being stunned in its simplicity. See also Gerard Manley Hopkins and Robert Penn Warren. In “Painted Visions,” his narrator speaks of loss and he only says, “I grew back into a child.” When his narrator gives voice to another child’s story, a holy one, it is a simple report” “we turned to the people and mumbled/something about the little girl/who said she could hold her breath/forever and that she knew the very thought/of a blackbird with dreams of the day.” What I hear most in Ray Young Bear’s Manifestation Wolverine are voices. His poetics bring them forth – young men, his mother, old women, old medicine— We are simply witness to his hearing. If you read poetry and enjoy it, read this collection. Nothing I can say here will help you than you could find if you sit and read these poems, or better yet, do as Ray Young Bear does, sit with the wind and listen.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marta

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tristanmkd

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katbyrdie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  23. 5 out of 5

    Renata

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  26. 5 out of 5

    Judith

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vien

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nola

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  31. 4 out of 5

    Amber Lovett Dhamija

  32. 4 out of 5

    Bogi Takács

  33. 4 out of 5

    Hkhali

  34. 5 out of 5

    Neverdust

  35. 4 out of 5

    R.C.

  36. 5 out of 5

    Thelma

  37. 4 out of 5

    Craig Werner

  38. 4 out of 5

    abcdefg

  39. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  40. 5 out of 5

    K Freebs

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