Linda LeGarde Grover's new collection of poetry, The Sky Watched: Poems of Ojibwe Lives, is not a collection of "pretty poems."
They're there, of course, but more often the words are are a slap in the face, delivered with a muted ferocity that leaves the reader first shocked, then speechless.
Tell your mother that you are doing very well. You’ll never amount to anything. Answer when the teacher addresses you. In English. We discourage visits from your family. If you visit your family in the summer, report to the matron’s office immediately upon your return. You will be allowed into the dormitory after you have been sanitized and de-loused. Busy hands are happy hands. Keep yourself occupied. You’ll never amount to anything. Books are our friends. Reading is your key to the world. In English. Forget the language of your grandparents. It is dead. If you are heard speaking it you will kneel on a navy bean for one hour. Do not cry. Crying never solved anything.