Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Page

Published on February 23, 2014 by Amy

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By Paul G. Zolbrod
By Paul G. Zolbrod

“This is a book about poetry: about its sacred underpinnings, its broad presence in everyday life, and its necessity to the human community. Reading the Voice examines poetry’s abiding importance among Native Americans from ancient times to the present. It also seeks connections between an ancient tribal way of making and diffusing poetry and more recent print-oriented or electronic means. Drawing on years of experience with Seneca and Navajo singers and storytellers, Paul Zoibrod offers an introductory framework for appreciating what can be called America’s first literature and for reevaluating the Western literary heritage. He states, “I consider this work a tentative first step in reconciling mainstream America with the deep poetic roots of an unwritten aboriginal past, and perhaps even with the deeper European roots of its own poetic traditions.” To do so effectively, however, readers must first reexamine assumptions about what poetry and literature really are. Those who come to Native American “literature” in print must do so conscious of the dynamic sounds of speech and song by “reading the voice,” instead of merely looking at a silent sheet of paper full of alphabetical symbols. By doing otherwise we stand to miss much that is essential to the verbal art of indigenous peoples whom print cultures approach from an alien perspective.” Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Source: questia Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2014 Native American Encyclopedia.
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American Psychological Association (APA):

Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Page Unabridged. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from website:

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Page Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia (accessed: October 23, 2014).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

"Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Page" Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia 23 Oct. 2014. <>.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):, "Reading the Voice: Native American Oral Poetry on the Page" in Unabridged. Source location: Native American Encyclopedia Available: Accessed: October 23, 2014.

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@ article {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com2014,
    title = { Unabridged},
    month = Oct,
    day = 23,
    year = 2014,
    url = {},
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Native Americans invented their own pain reliever. The active ingredient in Aspirin (and other versions) was known to Native people for centuries and is an acid compound that can be found in 15-20 species of the Willow Tree.

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