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Bone Light

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  46 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Orlando White explores language from a Diné (Navajo) perspective. One idea that interests him, inspires him to think and write, is the idea of the English language as a forgotten language.

Imagine if we as a people, all people in the United States, are speaking an Indigenous language rather than English; that the English language exists merely as a language of the colonial
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Paperback, 64 pages
Published February 15th 2009 by Red Hen Press
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Red Hen Press
Jul 14, 2009 Red Hen Press rated it it was amazing
In Bone Light, Orlando White’s debut volume, he explores the English language from a Diné (Navajo) perspective. He invites us to imagine that we, as a people--all people in this imaginary country called the United States--are speaking an Indigenous language and that the English language exists merely as a remnant of the colonial past.

Despite its tenuous existence in this re-imagined present, English remains a danger to Indigenous thought, as it threatens to impose an alien worldview through its
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Jim
Mar 26, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing
I picked this up at Dine College Tsaile campus where the author teaches and read it immediately in the back seat of a dusty Honda as we traveled across the Navajo Nation. But this isn't the kind of book that encourages the reader to look out and see the world in the new way. White's collection pulls you into a very peculiar place defined by the limitations of the page. This is language that calls attention to the book's fundamental components of white paper and black ink and then dismantles it. ...more
Jeff T.
Feb 17, 2009 Jeff T. rated it it was amazing
The other day I read a couple poems from this collection, and they've been in my head since. Today I sat down and read them all. Poured their letters into me, first thinking, slow, be slower, and then, I am not done with this. Orlando White exposes the bones of letters, the skeleton of the sentence, without losing the sense of language. Also, he reveals how, in writing a book, one becomes the book. But there is clearly a person here, nudging from the margins. He handles his letters, ours, with c ...more
Teniesha Kessler
Oct 31, 2013 Teniesha Kessler rated it really liked it
An interesting poetry collection exploring the constructs of the alphabet, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. While I found the idea intriguing and some of the pieces enjoyable, the collection as a whole seemed a bit redundant to me, since the same words were repeated over and over throughout the book, which, I'm sure, were part of the point, but I just prefer variety. This isn't to say, however, that the book doesn't demand a second read--I'll probably notice most relevant details that form ...more
Mike
Sep 03, 2016 Mike rated it it was amazing
Brilliant poems by the Diné (Navajo) poet Orlando white, in which the alphabet and letters of English become skeletal items used to tell metaphorical truths about language and imperialism. I have never read a book quite like this one. White's poetry is wholly inventive and unique.
Lillian
Aug 29, 2015 Lillian added it
Shelves: poetry
Themes: printed letters as bones, paper as skin, the letter o and number 0. This book was difficult for me, because of the way my mind works.
Mills College Library
811.6 W5869b 2009
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Orlando White is originally from Tólikan, Arizona. He is Diné (Navajo) of the Naaneesht’ézhi Tábaahí (Zuni Water’s Edge Clan) and born for the Naakai Diné’e (Mexican Clan).

He holds a BFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Brown University. His poems have appeared in Bombay Gin, In Posse Review, Oregon Literary Review, Ploughshares, They Are Flying Plane
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