Nila northSun was born of Chippewa-Shoshone descent in Schurz, Nevada, in 1951. A graduate of the University of Montana, she lives on the Stillwater Indian Reservation in Fallon, Nevada, where she is director of a teen crisis center. Part of the Native American literary renaissance of the 1970s, she served as coeditor of Scree magazine; published two books of poetry, Diet Pepsi and Nacho Cheese (1977) and Small Bones, Little Eyes (1981); and coauthored a tribal history for the Paiute-Shoshone tribe. Her poems have been anthologized in New Worlds of Literature (Norton) and Reinventing the Enemy's Language (Arizona) as well as several European collections.
After attending the Returning the Gift Native Writers Festival in 1992, she started writing and submitting her work again. This collection, including poems from her early chapbooks as well as later writing, was first announced in 1994. The title poem, she says, is "not only sexually suggestive, but alludes to the idea of a forked tongue liar or a gossip from which many of the other pieces derive."
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Sometimes nila northSun writes a poem infused with what many people might think of as a traditional Native American sensibility. In "ancient yearnings," for example, northSun writes: "flaming sunsets in the desert / melt into ghostly full moons / petroglyphs luminous but not / giving up any secrets." A lot of the poetry, though, deals with more prosaic subject matter: a child learning to skate, the tensions and resentments between married couples, a car colliding with a wayward cow ("the dent blends with / the others / & / you might have / fresh meat / that's slightly tenderized"). The intriguing title, A Snake in Her Mouth is intended to be both sexually evocative and also to suggest the "forked tongue" imagery of a liar or gossip.
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Book Description West End Press, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110931122872
Book Description West End Press, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # VIB0931122872