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Once upon a time, almost fifty years ago, I drove slowly through the unforgettable Navajo lands, and stopped to catch the Hopi winds in Walpi. I've wanted to go back, but it didn't—and probably will not—happen. Ivan Brownotter's poems have brought back all the nostalgia. The collection, each poem a small revelation, shows a glimpse into the lives of those who dwell in this beautiful but harsh landscape. Brownotter's poems sweep across the gamut of inspiration, but whether serious-humorous, sincere-ironic, or reverent-satiric, each affirms the love and respect he holds for the people and the land.
I thank him for the deep enjoyment his poems brought me.
While that might move you away from my feelings about this book, please don't. Because I can attest to the struggle aspect in Ivan's voice. I've workshopped with him on countless occasions, having seen each and everyone of these poems brought from rough stones into shining pearls. Ivan is humorous yes, but dont' be confused with his humor. Underlying is a dark bringer of truth. Ivan has the keen ability to entrap his reader with a disconnected sense of self, and by doing so, punch and jab like Joe Lewis at the center of your American securities.
If you want to be challenged, brought back from the hum drum American living, and learn what it means to celebrate the squall, thread yourself in and through these pages.
So far this sixty two page book is remarkable and heartwarming. Using poetry, every page tells a new experience Mr. Brownotter encountered on his voyage teaching English on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. Some of the poems are humorous and some are meaningful. A great buy for twelve bucks.