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North Dakota

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the whole moon
burns behind jamestown

seven wings of geese
light the thin ice


the asian sun
bloody on the interstate

spring flowers
break on the gray prairie


on the rearview mirror

feral shadows
transposed near fargo

Gerald Vizenor, “North Dakota” from Almost Ashore. Copyright © 2006 by Gerald Vizenor. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.
Source: Almost Ashore (Salt Publishing, 2006)
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North Dakota

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  • Gerald Vizenor is of Anishinabe heritage and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. Vizenor was born in Minnesota, but before he turned two years old his father was murdered. He was subsequently raised by his Swedish American mother, Anishinabe grandmother, and extended family in Minneapolis and on the White Earth Reservation.
    The author of more than 20 books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, Vizenor attended college on the GI Bill after serving in the armed forces for three years, mostly in Japan. He studied at New York University and did postgraduate work at Harvard University and the University of Minnesota. From 1964 to 1968 he directed the American Indian Employment and Guidance Center in Minneapolis. He was also a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune, where he investigated the actions of American Indian activists.
    Vizenor’s poetry collections include The Old Park Sleeper...

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