Leslie Marmon Silko, a poet and fiction writer, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1948, and grew up on the Laguna Pueblo reservation. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1969, the same year she published her first work, Tony's Story. Her first book of poems, Laguna Women, appeared in 1974 and her first novel, Ceremony, in 1977.
Silko's work reflects her belief in the importance of the preservation of Native American traditions and ways of life. In her second novel, Storyteller(1981), Silko uses Native American stories, in the form of prose and poetry, to retell her own family's story. Her most recent works include Yellow Woman and A Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today (1996). Silko received an award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1974 and a MacArthur Foundation grant in 1981. She currently teaches at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
A highly original and poetic self-portrait from one of America's most acclaimed writers.
Leslie Marmon Silko's new book, her first in ten years, combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Silko weaves tales from her family's past into her observations, using the turquoise stones she finds on the walks to unite the strands of her stories, while the beauty and symbolism of the landscape around her, and of the snakes, birds, dogs, and other animals that share her life and form part of her family, figure prominently in her memories. Strongly influenced by Native American storytelling traditions, "The Turquoise Ledge" becomes a moving and deeply personal contemplation of the enormous spiritual power of the natural world-of what these creatures and landscapes can communicate to us, and how they are all linked.
The book is Silko's first extended work of nonfiction, and its ambitious scope, clear prose, and inventive structure are captivating. "The Turquoise Ledge" will delight loyal fans and new readers alike, and it marks the return of the unique voice and vision of a gifted storyteller.
Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright met only twice.
First, briefly, in 1975, at a writers' conference in Michigan. Their correspondence began three years later, after Wright wrote to Silko praising her book "Ceremony." The letters began formally, and then each writer gradually opened to the other, sharing his or her life, work, and struggles. The second meeting between the two writers came in a hospital room, as Wright lay dying of cancer.
"The New York Times" wrote something of Wright that applies to both writers--of qualities that this exchange of letters makes evident: "Our age desperately needs his vision of brotherly love, his transcendent sense of nature, the clarity of his courageous voice."
When white soldiers destroy her home and her family, Indigo is taken from her tribe, placed in a school designed to give Indian children a European-American education, and eventually adopted by a proper Victorian couple. Although her adoptive parents are loving, Indigo cannot forget her past or forsake the centuries-old wisdom of her people and fully embrace the Christian virtues that shape her parents' lives. Over the years, Indigo's spirit and strength profoundly affects the lives and beliefs of all three members of the closely knit family.
In a narrative that moves from America's Southwest to Europe's glittering cities and back again, Leslie Silko eloquently portrays the clash between the Native American spirit and the values -- and hypocrisies -- of white upper-class society, and creates a memorable heroine who learns how to honor the best of both cultures.
In its extraordinary range of character and culture, Almanac of the Dead is fiction on the grand scale. The acclaimed author of Ceremony has undertaken a weaving of ideas and lives, fate and history, passion and conquest in an attempt to re-create the moral history of the Americas, told from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors.
Storytelling is an integral part of Native American tradition. It goes back hundreds of years, and spans the continent from ocean to ocean. It was the means by which tribes and nations communicated from generation to generation their feats, legends, and religious beliefs. These stories had a magical quality; they were both real and wondrous, and they had the power to bring the people together as nothing else did.
In this volumn Leslie Marmon Silko demonstrates that storytelling is not only alive but still imbued with the power to move and deeply affect us.
Here Silko weaves a magical spell, as she re-creates the ancient stories, in prose and poetry (the distinction for the Native American is far less than in the European tradition), spicing them with the realities of her own experience. They are stories of her own family -- of Great Grandma A'mooh, of Grandpa Hank and Aunt Susie and Aunt Susie's daughter Bessie; they are archetypal stories filled with characters like Old Ayah and Yellow Woman, Buffalo Man and Hummingbird; tales infused with a sense of tradition and love of place, yet filled too with the harsh realitites of hunger, poverty, and injustice.