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Bone & Juice (Triquarterly Books) Paperback – October 31, 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The poems of Louis's Xth collection construct an aging Native-American alcoholic who stopped drinking 10 years ago as he deals with what it means to be growing old and still in love with a wife suffering from a degenerative brain disease that is most likely Alzheimer's. A poet, a novelist, a newspaper editor, professor at Southwest State University and an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute tribe, Louis wryly dispatches received cliches of background and nation in "Valentine from Indian Country": "On these plains the plows/ and drums wrestle for centuries/ and marry into resignation./ The old songs scratch the earth/ attempting to release the ancestors./ Digging deeper, John Deere tractors/ unleash the Ghost Dance/ but nobody remembers the steps." He can move quickly from confessional boasting ("On many occasion in my 20s/ I took comfort with several/ women in a single day") to pathetic admissions ("Three days ago I had an affair,/ a quite torrid one I admit,/ with my lonesome left hand"). At moments his speaker is just plain infantile: "Yes, I know the cure for what/ ails me: a kind word or two,/ and, if I'm lucky, a tablespoon/ of woman dew." Mixed in with all this are poems like "Good-Hearted Woman," "Indian Sign Language" and "Turquoise Blues" that are unusually poignant explorations of how to still enjoy loving someone whose mind is deteriorating. Louis is best known for his catalogue poem "Colossal American Copulation," where he denounces much of 20th-century American culture in a catalogue of Whitmanesque lines that each begin with "Fuck" (as in "Fuck, no, double fuck the Vietnam War"). Many of the poems in Bone & Juice lack such vigor (despite calling Bill Clinton a "cockhound" and mocking Maya Angelou's inauguration poem) and have enormous flaws but so, intentionally, does their speaker.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Adrian Louis's poetry is the half-bred howl and fully electric song of Indian country. I memorize and recite his poems in the same way that white college professors memorize and recite Yeats and Keats. Read these poems and listen carefully, sweetheart, because there's a Paiute boy slouching toward Bethlehem." --Sherman Alexie, author of Indian Killer


"Mr. Louis is one of the few poets working in the United States of whom I would be brave enough to say is endowed with what Lorca called Duende. That rare, single, solitary, and powerful entity that makes of his poems masterpieces because they cut straight to the heart."
--Virgil Suárez, author of Palm Crows
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Product Details

  • Series: Triquarterly Books
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Triquarterly; 1 edition (October 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810151162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810151161
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,982,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Every person has an impending culture that hangs on the shoulders of their race. Adrian C. Louis has placed his heritage among the top influences for his prose, not letting his Native American blood hendor, only inspire his artwork. With poems such as the opening "Valentine from Indian Country" he imbarks on a journey through the stereotype of the Native American culture which is constantly being watered down in disolved into some more ambiguous culture that is America. He shows no shame in revealing where his people stand in America's eyes. Images of a struggling yet relient people abound through out this book. He attacks a vast aray of political and social topics that surround the Native American culture. One such topic as shown in "Deep in the American Ether" is his own personal struggle to face the Post-Modernist ideals and habits of America and still hold onto his NA heritage. Each poem speaks with its own distinct voice yet manages to hold onto the asthetic that is the Native American culture as lived through one of its own. Read this book for its beauty and honesty.
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Format: Paperback
Readers of Adrian Louis' short stories and his novel, "Skins," will find many of the same themes in these 42 poems. Here is the same rage and the same mordant humor, all expressed in his distinctive voice. The big-hearted soul beneath the surface of these poems ranges from bitterness to tenderness - playing on words and ideas, often ribald and raunchy, and then brimming with well-earned sentiment.

A departure from the norm in this collection are several from-the-gut love poems, describing his deepening affection for a mentally stricken companion, Colleen. The anguish of this unrequited love, haunted by erotic memories of earlier times, is haunting and heartbreaking. Meanwhile, the poet, turning fifty, recognizes his own advancing middle age, and bids farewell to both love and his own youth. Finally, failing health lands him in surgery and a long season at the doorway of death on the fringes of his own sanity.

In the end, it's the journey of a battered heart, still tough and beating strong. I recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Adrian Louis' "Bone and Juice" is a wonderful book of poems with a strong and unique voice. Louis' blunt eloquence is refreshing. The main reason why this book is unique to me is how Louis uses his Native American heritage and its effect on his life to produce a body of poems that the reader can feel is the honest truth. He allows the reader to relate to him. Louis' poems are not like the poems you read that are mere quirky observations of what is going on around you. His poems are about living, changing, and coping. They are formed from sincere reflections and lucid thoughts true to the moment of conception. What is even greater about Louis is that he can comfortably and skillfully add humor and sarcasm to serious issues. And therefore the reader can not only be inspired by the poems themselves but also by the hope and perseverance of his writing style.

Poems such as "Juice" and "The Promise" are great examples of Louis' strength as a poet and as a person. I think that these are the types of poems that can cut to a person's heart making the reader exclaim "wow" in amazement at witnessing Louis' understanding of himself. Although many people cannot even begin to empathize with what it means to be part of the minority in America, let alone being part of a culture that has been nearly exterminated by colonization throughout the centuries, Love can be generally understood by most people. And the depth and loyalty that Louis shows in his Colleen poems is quite admirable and powerful.

Louis, while being skilled enough to let the reader understand him, also brings us to a world that is most likely unknown to some people particularly readers of poetry.
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Format: Paperback
Without a doubt, Adrian C. Louis is one of the best modern poets alive. His poems draw upon a vast range of inspirations, including his heritage and various experiences with the opposite sex. Additionally, his imagery and phrasing don't try to show things in a fluffy fantasy world. Everything he writes is straight forward and never leaves you trying to guess at a hidden meaning. Fans of poetry should not be without this book, even if the word Cowturdville worries you.
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Format: Paperback
Poetry lovers need this book by Adrian C. Louis. It's thoughtful, at times funny, and brilliantly constructed. Louis is a master of image and isn't afraid to tackle a variety of issues from age, to insanity, to culture, to God. He juxtaposes the historical tragedy of the Native American with personal tragedy, particularly his relationship with Colleen. I read this book in an hour and was upset to find that I didn't have more to read. All in all, a wonderful book.
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