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The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fifth Edition
Paul Lauter, General Editor

Wendy Rose (Hopi)
(b. 1948)

Wendy Rose was born in Oakland, California, and is of Hopi, Miwok, English, Scottish, Irish, and German extraction. She spent her childhood in the Bay Area just as that region experienced its postwar boom and urban sprawl. She grew up coming to terms with her ethnicity, her gender, and with an Indian’s place (or lack of it) in an urban setting. In 1976 she married Arthur Murata while she was an anthropology student at the University of California, Berkeley, which she had entered as an undergraduate in 1974. She received her master’s degree there in cultural anthropology in 1978 and is enrolled in the doctoral program. She taught from 1979 to 1983 at the same school in both Ethnic Studies and Native American Studies before going to teach (1983–84) at Fresno State University and then in 1984 to her current position as the Coordinator of the American Indian Studies Program at Fresno City College, California. She serves on the Modern Languages Association Commission on Languages and Literatures of America. In response to her ethnic role, she is active in a wide array of American Indian community affairs. At the same time, Wendy Rose works on more poems as well as on a bilingual Hopi-English manuscript. She still collects entries for a massive compilation of an annotated bibliography of published books by Native American authors in the United States and Canada.

She is best known as an American Indian poet. She is one of the premier American Indian women poets of today. Her work is widely anthologized in American literary titles. Her poems show a persistent evolution and understanding of her own voice as an Indian, as a woman, and as a poet. Her poetry serves as a bridge between ancient storytellers and singers and the modern analyst of literature and culture. She sees American culture critically from the inside as well as from the outside. Her poems project the defiance of indigenous peoples in the past century, the poignancy of a precarious survival in an occupied land, and a challenge to the Eurocentric poetic tradition while at the same time using its medium to convey her images. Her verse combines pieces from her own background, glimpses of modern American life, and bits from Indian tradition to weave a tapestry of contemporary indigenous poetry that is unsurpassed in its realism and beauty. Wendy Rose’s poetry also carries the rage of a mixed-blood American Indian and that of a woman in a male-dominated academic environment, as seen in her 1977 Academic Squaw. Her poems present the tragedy of the loss of millions of native lives under the onslaught of Europeans coming to the New World, yet also preserve the strength for survival of the remaining Indian women of the hemisphere. This sense of poignancy is captured in her poem “To the Hopi in Richmond.” Rose’s poetry offers a slice of contemporary American Indian existence in the United States, bringing back to the late twentieth century the sacredness and balance of the ancients among the American Indians.

C. B. Clark
Oklahoma City University

In the Heath Anthology
Throat Song: The Rotating Earth (1982)
Loo-wit (1983)
If I Am Too Brown or Too White for You (1985)
Julia (1985)
Story Keeper (1985)
To the Hopi in Richmond (Santa Fe Indian Village) (1985)

Other Works
Hopi Roadrunner Dancing (1973)
Academic Squaw: Reports to the World from the Ivory Tower (1977)
Long Division: A Tribal History (1977)
Poetry of the American Indian Series (1978)
Builder Kachina: A Home-Going Cycle (1979)
Lost Cropper (1980)
What Happened When the Hopi Hit New York (1982)
Halfbreed Chronicles (1985)
Going to War with All My Relations (1993)
Bone Dance: New and Selected Poems, 1965-1993 (1994)
Now Proof She Is Gone (1994)

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Modern American Poetry
A biography, criticism, an interview, and links to poetry available online.

Native American Authors Project
A biographical sketch and primary and secondary bibliographies.

Voices from the Gaps
Provides a biographical and literary introduction, lists of primary and secondary works, and links.

Secondary Sources