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11 Reviews
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, although not Alexie's best
Sherman Alexie's _One Stick Song_ offers more of what readers are learning to expect from one of the most talented young writers in the United States. Alexie's poetry offers comic perspectives toward contemporary Indian life in America. His writing exposes the twisted logic of stereotypes that infect liberal romanticism, challenges and reconstructs basic national,...
Published on June 2, 2000 by James Stripes

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars He employs long vowels/and soft consonants to seduce us
My second Alexie (after Face). Yeah, he's engaging enough - so are puppies - but it's a rather constricted, self-referential world that has designs on us. Well, don't all poets 'have designs'? Sure, but Alexie tries to have it both ways by making fun of his perceived victimhood while still exploiting it; to someone without the oppressor's guilt (we in Britain have plenty...
Published on March 6, 2012 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'


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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, although not Alexie's best, June 2, 2000
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
Sherman Alexie's _One Stick Song_ offers more of what readers are learning to expect from one of the most talented young writers in the United States. Alexie's poetry offers comic perspectives toward contemporary Indian life in America. His writing exposes the twisted logic of stereotypes that infect liberal romanticism, challenges and reconstructs basic national, civil, and religious myths, and plays-in a most serious manner-at the edges of our language.
Alexie is the master of the one-liner, and every book has many memorable lines. He also does exceptional work with poetic form. Some of his poems have enlivened such old forms as blank verse, sestinas, sonnets, and epics. Yet his poetry remains accessible to readers who find the poetry taught in schools stale and obtuse. (Now, of course, Alexie is fast becoming one of the poets taught in schools.) In my teaching, I have had many students tell me they cannot read poetry, and then become seekers of poetry after exposure to a few of Alexie's poems.
Alexie's poetry is not for readers who are insecure in their beliefs. His approach-on the page, and in person-is aptly described as in-your-face. In _One Stick Song_ he offers lines that had me cheering his attack on a liberal scared cow that I've been afraid to confront with the profanity he employs (perhaps the only reasonable response). But he does not leave my own cherished delusions safe, driving me to reexamine basic assumptions.
The four-star rating I've given this book does not reflect the strength of the book when measured against other living poets. 4.8 stars would be more accurate. Rather, the rating reflects my disappointment in this book compared to Alexie's _Summer of Black Widows_. The earlier book is Alexie's best poetry. _One Stick Song_, on the other hand, is a poetic companion volume to _The Toughest Indian in the World_, his new collection of short stories. In this set, the prose offers more of the innovation that is becoming Alexie's trademark.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant satiric perspective on American Indian culture, June 20, 2002
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
"One Stick Song" is a superb blend of poetry and prose by Sherman Alexie. The back cover notes that the author is a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, and indeed the main topic of this book is American Indian life and literature. Although Whitman is invoked in one of the pieces ("The American Artificial Limb Company"), I found Alexie's voice in this piece to remind me more of Kurt Vonnegut and George Carlin. The book is a mixture of outrage, wacky humor, and tenderness, with some really cutting satiric elements.
Some of my favorite pieces are as follows. "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Me" is an excellent, irony-rich extended prose poem which looks at, among other things, the business and politics of Native American literary production. This piece contains the memorable line, "Poetry = Anger x Imagination." "Open Books" is a satiric poem about poets and poetry itself. In this poem Alexie writes, "Let us now celebrate the lies / that should be true because they tell us so much." "The Mice War" is an unsettling, violent poem that takes place on a reservation landfill. This is just a small sampling of the treasures in "One Stick Song," a book which moves Alexie onto my list of favorite United States poets.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best yet, November 27, 2000
By 
Schwanda (Shoreline, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
Call me biased, but I consider this Alexie's best colleciton of poetry yet. In it he moves away from his typical sad and revealing descriptions of the life he saw as a child on the res, and moved more into himself, revealing things to us about himself that we only guessed before. This makes his past works make more sense and gives readers a greater understanding of what goes on in Alexie's mind. These poems and stories seem older, wiser somehow. I believe Alexie has jumped a rung in this book, out of the "infantile" works of yore and into something greater. He becomes a Master of the Masters.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Personal Work to Date, December 30, 2000
By 
Wildness (Colorado Plateau) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
One Stick Song is Sherman Alexie's most personal work yet. In these poems and stories, he reveals a side of himself that he has never truly exposed before... possibly even to himself. It is obvious that Sherman is finding the deepest parts of his soul in recent years, probably helped along by the birth of his as revealed by the final poem in the book "Sugar Town."

I have read all of Alexie's works to date, and mostly in the order they were written and I have enjoyed reading the growth of this truly great writer.

>>>>>>><<<<<<<

A Guide to my Book Rating System:

1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is truly magical, hypnotic, beautiful reading., August 7, 2000
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
It should come as no surprise to any viewer of Smoke Signals that the writing, almost the singing voice of Sherman Alexie is hypnotic, even addictive. The beauty of the song invites you deeper and deeper through layer upon layer until you are completely immersed in all its glory; then you are belched up with a wry joke like Jonah beached by the whale. All observations may be intact, but you have been to another place, and must see the world differently ever after. No matter how afraid we are of the enlightenment and its obligations, the experience and its effects continue to allow us the opportunity to do the necessary healing work. To call it cathartic seems trite and shallow, even false. It is magical.
I knew a man who drowned
in three inches of water collected in a tire track.
I wish I could name him here but tribal laws forbid me
to name the dead. These laws are aboriginal
and more important than any poem.
But I want to give him a name
that means what I say so I name him Hamlet, King Lear Othello, Noah, Adam. from Water 3, One Stick Song.
Nancy Lorraine, Reviewer
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars in your face reading, August 16, 2001
By 
J.R. Burge (Blocker, Oklahoma United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
From the very first chapter this collection of poems blew me away. Sherman Alexie provides a raw and gritty insight into the contemporary American Indian ideology. His poems jump to life inside your imagination and seem to not want to die. Alexie helps people of all different backgrounds come to a better understanding of how things are in the real American world of misconceptions about American Indians and their beliefs and customs. He also challenges the way some people may view their own cultural lineage. At times his poems are very jovial and lighthearted, and at other times they are stark and quite sad. This is one of the best books i have ever read. I recomend this book to anyone who wants to see a different side to the way old ideas are challenged in new ways.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poet for the Rest of Us, June 2, 2007
By 
CV Rick (Minneapolis, MN, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
Sherman Alexie is a poet, he says. But not just him. The New York Times says he's a poet and so does the Harvard Review. I read his work and I think less about poetry and more about essential truth. There's not much form or structure except that which makes the words fit into interesting columns on the page - yet I read him and love the words, feel the emotion he's conveying. If that's what a poet is, then I agree. But it's not that his words are beautiful, or that he scours the thesaurus for the perfect metaphor, because he can't. Not him. He just can't. I envision him sitting down and writing about a subject - water, women, old trucks - and then looking at what he wrote and feeling relieved that it's out of his head and now other people will have to read it while he can forget it. He lets it go into the world, freeing himself of those constraints.

If that's poetry, then he's my favorite.

As he says, Indian writers sell less copies than Mixed Blood writers and they sell less than Non-Indian writers writing about Indians. Non-Indian writers say "Great Spirit," "Mother Earth," "Two-legged, Four-legged, and Winged." Mixed Blood writers say "Creator," "Mother Earth," "Two-legged, Four-legged, and Winged." Indian writers say "God," "Mother Earth," "Human Being, Dog, and Bird."

He's right. Sherman Alexie writes simply, directly. He's the combination of simplicity reminiscent of Hemingway and the frank truthfulness filled with biting irony reminiscent of Mark Twain. He's the direct vision into the lives of today's Indians - as they are, not as they might be perceived to be.

Great book.

- CV Rick
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, October 12, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
Early Sherman Alexie is very strong. Start with his earliest work, such as this title and work around it a bit. His recent stuff is a bit stiff and stilted; the early stuff is far from it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars He employs long vowels/and soft consonants to seduce us, March 6, 2012
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
My second Alexie (after Face). Yeah, he's engaging enough - so are puppies - but it's a rather constricted, self-referential world that has designs on us. Well, don't all poets 'have designs'? Sure, but Alexie tries to have it both ways by making fun of his perceived victimhood while still exploiting it; to someone without the oppressor's guilt (we in Britain have plenty of our own, thank you) and who can't therefore be manipulated, it seems private, petty, parochial. Best poem: American Artificial Limb Company

As for teaching him in schools, if I were a teacher I'd be doing the same, but as part of a balanced diet. The poem just cited would indeed be an excellent, enigmatic place to tackle the question of truth in poetry. And in life
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent poet, November 30, 2008
This review is from: One Stick Song (Paperback)
This book is filled with feeling! So Strong , So Sad, So Funny and So Right On!!!!!I highly recommend it----- As well as his other books. His soul is old and he truly speaks for the Indian.
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One Stick Song
One Stick Song by Sherman Alexie (Paperback - June 1, 2000)
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