by Molly McGlennen
University of Arizona Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-8165-4146-1 | Paper: 978-0-8165-4017-4
Library of Congress Classification PS3613.C4838O87 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6

Our Bearings is a collection of narrative poetry that examines and celebrates Anishinaabe life in modern Minneapolis. Crafted around the four elements—earth, air, water, and fire— the poems are a beautifully layered discourse between landscapes, stories, and the people who inhabit them. Throughout the collection, McGlennen weaves the natural elements of Minnesota with rich historical commentary and current images of urban Native life. Reverence for wildlife and foliage is pierced by the sharp man-made skylines of Minneapolis while McGlennen reckons with the heavy impact of industrial progress on the souls and everyday lives of individuals.

While working with both traditional and contemporary form, McGlennen’s unique use of space and rhythm creates poetry that is both captivating and accessible. Our Bearings does not attempt to speak for a population; rather it offers vibrant stories and moments that give voice to pieces of a large and complex tapestry of experiences. Through keen observation and a deep understanding of Native life in Minneapolis, McGlennen has created a timely collection that contributes beautifully to the important conversation about contemporary urban Native life in North America and globally.

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