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The Poetry and Poetics of Gerald Vizenor
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Rick Monture. The Subject of Minimalism. Thomas Phillips. Stories in a New Skin.
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William Mazzarella. The Common Cause. Leela Gandhi. Mimesis and Alterity. Michael Taussig. Apostate Englishman. Albert Braz. Red Land, Red Power. Sean Kicummah Teuton. I research the hemispheric literatures and cultures of the Americas, principally of the twentieth century. My inquiries have taken place in the fields of indigenous and Latino studies, American poetics, and environmental criticism, with the following questions focusing my work: How are semiotics and aesthetics an interface for racial and national positionalities?
And how do those positions—that is, social locations of identity, race, gender, kinship, and ecology—change when cast in the aesthetic forms that one finds in signs on the outside of normative semiotics, troping, and figuration? My forthcoming book, Signs of the Americas: A Poetics of Pictographs, Hieroglyphs, and Khipu University of Chicago Press, , examines the ongoing ability of such seemingly antiquated sign systems as Puebloan pictographs, Anishinaabe petroglyphs, Mayan hieroglyphs, and Andean khipu, to express and shape contemporary experiences.
That is, how are signs technologies of the social body in both senses of the term, techne : subjectivizing the body while making available its discrepant fashionings? How are the signs of the Americas aesthetic thresholds in the fullest sense? And by what failure of the conception of the sign as Saussurean index of content do we strain to see history formed and transformed in semiotic and aesthetic thresholds? How is it also a swirl of present making, a sign that signs—like people—are roiled and active at the scene of their becoming, then and now?
GV: The meaning of the word "indigenous" is not obvious in creative literature. Novelists create characters and scenes in an imagined world, not in an academic bower, descriptive carriage, or ethnographic compartment. Literary artists create the scenes and characters that may seem familiar to readers.
The organic intersections, structural or essential, are restricted by the language of the social sciences, and are not obviously the subject of literary art. SR: What is your opinion about the state of Native American literature in our society today? GV: Native American Indian creative narratives are a new literature of discovery.
Gerald Vizenor's "Socioacupuncture" through His Haiku
Yes, the discovery of new styles of literary art to uncover the original play of native stories, creation and trickster stories, and to reveal the various practices of native irony. SR: Is literature in crisis? Are the humanities in crises? If so, what remedy would you propose to cure both?
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