Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 16:3 (Summer 1996). Copyright © 1996 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


As an intensely personal genre, poetry intimately reveals Louise Erdrich's voice as her well-known fiction does not. Evident in that voice are elements of the mosaic of cultural experiences that comprise Erdrich's life: Catholicism, German ancestry, working class, university education, and Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Erdrich's poetry is her first published work, her own writing without the collaborative effort and editing of her husband, Michael Dorris (Modoc). While some of Erdrich's poems garner their cultural rhetoric from differing points of view and values, most exhibit the variety of experiences that result from marginalization inherent in the omnipresence of race in North American society.