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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    American Indian writer poses many questions to readers

    “”Who has the power to speak?”” is the first of many questions Margo Tamez asks.

    In her latest book of poems, “”Raven Eye,”” Tamez freely displays her ability to ask questions about the existing inequality of gender, race and social issues that directly affect the population of American Indian women. This ability to seek truth and knowledge of it is what sets Tamez, a poet, scholar and activist, apart from other indigenous poets.

    Tamez was raised in San Antonio during the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam era. These events that occurred during her childhood made a lifelong impression on the writer and her experiences with racism, gender bias and social injustice. At the age of 7, Tamez’s mother told her to use the education of the dominant white culture to find ways to voice the stories and struggles of her people. Tamez has done exactly that.

    The issues presented in the poems involve the reader on a much more personal level.

    “”The greatest poets work for dismantling justice for whatever it is and calling it out for whatever it is,”” Tamez said.

    What she is working for in “”Raven Eye”” is taking complex ideas such as neoliberalism, capitalism, colonialism, racism and the existing stereotypes against American Indians, and binding them together to make the reader first ask questions about what oppression is, realize that they are part of the problem, and ultimately, unite the readers together to fight against it.

    “”Raven Eye”” is not light reading. In fact, the poems are often read like prayers and directly call the reader to examine ideas, issues and problems involving the American Indian experience in today’s world. The issues presented in the poems involve the reader on a much more personal level.

    “”I want people to realize how they are directly connected to the problem,”” Tamez said.

    What makes her poetry stand so strongly against the invisible but everyday violent context to militarization and colonization related to indigenous people is that Tamez speaks volumes to American Indians and non-Indians alike.

    For poets here at the UA, Tamez makes the point that “”poets cannot be coddled and nurtured in universities – that depletes their minds from having relationships with poetry.””

    In a lasting effort to make readers ask questions, Tamez asks, “”What voices have been made invisible?”” and “”If you’re writing in a box, what is the point?””

    Margo Tamez will read tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. The event is free, and women are strongly encouraged to read at the open mic following the reading.

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