Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Mammoth Publishes Kim Shuck's WHOSE WATER: POEMS

Kim Shuck's new long poem Whose Water: Poems

Kim Shuck, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, writes a stunning long poem about her journey across the United States, what becomes a personal migration along its waterways. She names and transforms history, politics, nature’s beings, and her own ties to Cherokee Nation, of which she is an enrolled member. She notices “Selu” (corn in Cherokee), orchards, “dead gas stations,” and “ravens in parking lots.” In the flow of scenes, Shuck articulates an identity, “Americans are defined/by crossing water/Atlantic, Mississippi, Rio Grande, Pacific.” Place names of Latin, Spanish, and Algonkian origin wend together. An unanswered question haunts the verse as the poet moves in a terrain of observation and imagination. Readers join Shuck in creating possible responses.

Truck stop coffee

In through the passes
The satisfying watersheds whose punch lines we know
Here through the fog on the hillside
Through the sunwink and traffic of the floodplain
Here again among handprint bridges and watersong
Here at the straights
Whose water?


Kim Shuck is a Tsalagi (Cherokee)/Euro-American poet, author, weaver, and beadwork artist born in San Francisco, California. She belongs to the Northern California Cherokee diaspora and is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. In 2017, Mayor Ed Lee named Shuck as the 7th Poet Laureate of San Francisco.  Other awards include a PEN Oakland Censorship Award, National Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, KQED Local Hero Award, American Indian Heritage Month, Mentor of the Year Award from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, Native Writers of the Americas First Book, Diane Decorah Award, and a Mary Tallmountain Award. Previous books of poetry are Deer Trails: San Francisco Poet Laureate Series No. 7, (City Lights Publishers), Murdered Missing (Foothills Publishing), Sidewalk Ndn, chapbook (FootHills Publishing), Clouds Running In, (Taurean Horn Press ), Smuggling Cherokee (Greenfield Review Press, Poetry Foundation bestseller list, SPD Books bestseller list. She earned a B.A. in Art (1994), and M.F.A. in Textiles (1998) from San Francisco State University. She has taught American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and was an artist-in-residence at the de Young Museum in June 2010 with Michael Horse.