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Cover for Of Cartography

Of Cartography

Poems (Sun Tracks #81)

Esther G. Belin


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One of our generation’s most important literary voices, Esther G. Belin was raised in the Los Angeles area as part of the legacy following the federally run Indian relocation policy. Her parents completed the Special Navajo Five-Year Program that operated from 1946 to 1961 at Sherman Institute in Riverside, California. Drawing from this experience, her poetry, activism, and multimedia work speaks to larger issues of urban Indian identity, acceptance, adaptation, and cultural estrangement.

In this long-anticipated collection, Belin daringly maps the poetics of womanhood, the body, institution, family, and love. Depicting the personal and the political, Of Cartography is an exploration of identity through language. With poems ranging from prose to typographic and linguistic illustrations, this distinctive collection pushes the boundaries of traditional poetic form.

Marking territory and position according to the Diné cardinal points, Of Cartography demands much from the reader, gives meaning to abstraction, and demonstrates the challenges of identity politics.

Praise For Of Cartography: Poems (Sun Tracks #81)

Of Cartography plays on poetic structure, often pushing readers to rethink how they are taking in the thoughts and words. We hear how Belin is shaking up the world of poetry.”—Native American Calling

“Esther G. Belin’s newest collection of poetry, Of Cartography, is a moving and innovative work, bringing together poetry and indigenous experiences and knowledge of space.”—Transmotion

“[Of Cartography] digs into the cultural and physical representation of Navajo language, how landscape shapes identity and what it means to be Indian.”—High Country News

“At once conceptual art, a poetic narrative, and a holistic exploration of locating oneself through language.”—Jennifer Elise Foerster, author of Leaving Tulsa

University of Arizona Press, 9780816536023, 88pp.

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

About the Author

Esther G. Belin is a Diné poet and multimedia artist. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Antioch University. Her poetry collection, From the Belly of My Beauty, won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Her writing has appeared in Wicazo Sa Review, BOMB, Democracy Now!, and Studies in American Indian Literatures, among others.