Ãlk'idídaa' jini. The stories begin.
In poems that exude the warmth of an afternoon in the southwestern sun, Hershman John draws readers into a world both familiar and utterly new.
Raised on a reservation and in boarding schools, then educated at a state university, John writes as a contemporary Navajo poet. His is a new voice—one that understands life on both sides of the
canyon that divides, but does not completely separate, the Diné people from their neighbors who live outside the reservation. His poetry draws freely from tribal myths and legends, and like its
creator, it lives outside the reservation too. Perhaps that is why they seem so unspoiled, so sparkling. They are like gemstones that we have never seen. And we are dazzled.
John's vivid and descriptive language distinguishes him from his many lesser peers.
Hershman John's courage, sure grounding in his world, and formal and linguistic skill make this an impressive first book.
—Studies in American Indian Literature
recurring images of sheep, coyotes, and crows—and an ever-present Navajo grandmother—these poems carry echoes of an ancient time that seems to exist in parallel with our own. The people who live
in them bear, as if woven strand by strand into their souls, the culture and traditions of the Glittering World. Although these poems are lush with imagery of sunbaked lands, they are never
sentimental. Throughout this collection, the poet's voice is confident, assured, and engaged with life in a messy world. It is a world in which animated spirits dwell comfortably with modern
machinery, where the spiritual resides with the all-too-human. This is a welcoming universe. It invites us to enter, to linger, to savor, and to learn.