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One Stick Song

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  668 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Poetry. Native American Studies. "Whether slyly identifying irony as a white man's invention, or deftly moving from prose-like multilayered narratives to formal poetry and song structures, this fifth collection from poet, novelist, and screenwriter Alexie demonstrates many of his skills. Most prominent perhaps is his ability to handle multiple perspectives and complex psyc ...more
Paperback, 91 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Hanging Loose Press
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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Karen Douglass
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I often fail to record my reading of poetry because it's prodigious and would be hard to catalog here. But this book, a gift, is truly a gift. Alexie writes poignantly and with great courage about his Indian heritage. And no, he does not insist on Native American; he's Indian, so he insists. The book is a combination of contemporary free verse and prose. His issues/themes are family, identity, and love. Especially love, for his wife, his father, his son, his Indian world. No kitschy tribal stuff ...more
Ronald Wise
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable and teasingly provocative collection of Alexie’s poems and short essays which left me feeling like I’d just played an amusing game of intellectual peekaboo. I’d heard many radio interviews with the author around the time I read his novels The Toughest Indian in the World and Reservation Blues about ten years ago. That introductory enjoyment of his style and wit, and my familial and night-life exposure to a Native American/Native Alaskan flavor of human awareness, have left me almost ...more
Let's be honest. If you aren't "into" poetry in general, it can be extremely tedious.
Sherman Alexie's poetry is never tedious.

What is it? It is funny and painful and sexy and thought provoking.

His included essays are just the icing on the cake.

5 Stars
Jul 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, poetry
The poems in this collection are enjoyable enough, but the two essays (The Unauthorized Biography of Me and The Warriors) pack the most punch. Biography flits about to different moments in Alexie's life, from picking forbidden apples from his grandmother's tree to a KISS concert as an adolescent to his list of people he wishes were Indian (which includes Harriet Tubman, Shakespeare, and Jesus Christ). The Warriors revolves around Alexie's experience playing on his reservation baseball team--his ...more
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Oh Sherman, why won't you write the forward for my book?
You write so damn good. . .
Mona Kareem
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
was enjoying this poetry collection by Sherman Alexie. I liked the poems on indian literature, indian writers, the poets are liars. Then he turns to sports and to childhood and his obsession and contrasts of indian women vs. white women, and it gets all sleazy and disturbing.
am all for men, for any and all creatures, to self-medicate with writing. but when your practice of objectification, self-hatred, misogyny, creepy lust are not doing anything for the rest of us, then maybe you need a shrink
Feb 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This man, Sherman Alexie, sexually abuses women serially and I will never support his work.

Read the comments section:
Gordon Gravley
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Alexie never ceases to impress me.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
wonderful collection
Erin Thomas
Mar 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed

This did not take very long for me to read. It consists of 22... entries ...scattered across 79 pages. It might have taken longer to read if I felt inspired to pore over some of the entries a second time. I did read several poems in Alexie's Summer of Black Widows more than once, but not so here. This is because none of them called out for me to do so, to take a closer look. This is because reading this book felt like reading 22 quickly written notes in someone's personal journal. This is also
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read more than a handful of Sherman Alexie’s poems even though everyone who knows me knows Reservation Blues is one of my most favorite novels ever; one I go back to in whole or in part periodically. But I think some of Sherman Alexie’s writing is, well, not very good and sometimes it is pretty good but I would still enjoy the opportunity to have a lively conversation with him in person. (Yet when he is good, he is very, very good.)

When I read poetry books I usually only read one or t
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Alexie is a terrific writer. His poetry is funny, beautiful, and sharp, often all at the same time. I actually most enjoyed his two essays included, however. The essays are a loose collection of autobiographical anecdotes, told well, and some awfully interesting stories and observations.

I chose to read this book as part of my personal consciousness raising related to the current rise of the Idle No More movement. I enjoyed it because it was excellent, challenging literature, not merely as a poli
Nov 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: americans...
so far, i am only through the first poem, which is intense and incredibly emotional (and long). i have only read mr. alexie's fiction minimally... like a story here or there. but the clarity of this man's language definitely enlarges my understanding of what contemporary poetry is and what it can do. growing up on the east coast i have almost no frame of reference for these stories... which is how i felt watching smoke signals years ago. this man is almost single-handedly letting me and my demog ...more
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love reading Sherman Alexie's poetry in a different way than I read his novels. Having read War Dances last year it was fascinating to return to this earlier work. The father-son relationship plays out over and over, from one perspective here, another in "What We Mean When We Say Phoenix, Arizona" and in War Dances. Funny, sexy, brutal. It's poetry as a weapon of truth not poetry with a little p. I particularly loved the longer piece called "Water" in this collection. ...more
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Alexie: "Have you stood in a crowded room where nobody looks like you? . . . If you are a woman, have you stood in a room full of men?"

That happened to me all the time when I lived in Japan. Sometimes I just pretended I was Mr. Spock.

Some interesting pieces here, both poetry and prose, but sometimes Alexie gets carried away with himself.

The best pieces are about Alexie's family and his childhood. "Sugar Town," the last piece in the book, is especially moving.
Maureen Melle
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One Stick Song

In this book Mr. Alexie talks about his feelings when his father has his foot amputated. I can say that when my father had his amputated and later passed away, I had some similar feelings. This may also be a metaphor for his feelings that he has lost his Indianness. I do not like the oral read along vocal tract so I just read for myself. Overall_ an excellent book.
Emilia P
Dec 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: embittered artists
Shelves: real-books
Oh, god. I love you Sherman Alexie for so many reasons.
He is so mad and happy and matter-of-fact about his life story and about his craft.

There is a great poem in here about how much poets SUCK.
There is some stuff about his father.
There are some odd strains of Ginsberg.
I need to be an Alexie completist.
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I didn't realize that so much of Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was biographical. But this earlier volume shows me that so much of the book was true. I liked the mixture of prose and poetry. I liked his take on whites and Indians as well as his honesty about sexual themes. I'll think about adding one of his adult novels to my reading list. ...more
Sandy Brusin
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Multi-genre book is a mixed bag. Some of the poetry gave me pause like this:

Parenthood is no miracle.
There is no magic involved.
There is only the rough sandpaper
of faith, the hard work of love, ...

But the opening essay, "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Me," resonated the most for me. And it was a long time between the opening essay and that last poem.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I read poetry and I'm glad this was my reintroduction to the genre. I like that he plays with form -- I never knew what the next page would bring. My favorites were Sugar Town and The Unauthorized Autobiography of Me. I haven't read any of Sherman Alexie's books yet -- but I will. ...more
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I liked some of the poems. They aren't ones I could bring into the calssroom though. The poems are good insight and a few have the same themes mentioned in his Young Adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. ...more
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I like Alexie's prose better. These poems seem to be missing a performer, the original reader who breathes life into them. Compression and irony are evident, but music is almost absent. My favorite pieces? "The Unauthorized Biography of Me" and "Warriors"...Yep, two prose pieces. ...more
John Bishop
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Published in 2000 by the fellow who brought us the movie 'Smoke Signals'. It's pretty angry. There's a lot about growing up on a reservation.

It would take me about as long to write a review as it would for you to read the book, so go read it!
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I am not, normally, much of a fan of poetry. But I love Sherman Alexie's writing. And while I was drawn a bit more to the prose pieces, his language always impresses me. Makes me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. ...more
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who love poetry and American Indian poetry
I thought his, Alexie's, poetry was beautiful and spoke to my heart. ...more
Jul 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like great poetry
I love Sherman Alexie's poetry. That's all I have to say about that. ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, indigenous
Humorous, readable, angry, cleanly and tightly written. Alexie is a good screenwriter, a great novelist, but a phenomenal poet.
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Been lucky enough to meet him and I always ask him to write more poetry. His prose is what pays the bills--darn
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Sherman Alexie writes wonderful poetry and he ought to get more credit for it. Granted, they read likes stories...
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Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. Alexie has published 18 books to date.
Alexie is an award-winning and prolific author and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American. Sherman's best known works in

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