Marilou Awiakta’s Poems

By Thomas Fast
Ferrum College

March 29, 2003

 


Note: Thomas Fast was a student in English 102, Composition and Rhetoric II, in Spring 2003. This is a general studies course at Ferrum College, taught by Tina Hanlon. Thomas wrote these comments as an informal extra-credit assignment, after reading the poems that Marilou Awiakta gave us permission to reprint in AppLit.

Back to poems and author page on Marilou Awiakta or Awiakta Bibliography


I thought that Awiakta’s poems were very interesting and unique. I don’t think that I have ever read any poetry that was this politically charged. Most of the poetry that I have read usually describes landscapes, feelings, or history. Awiakta's work is somewhat different, in that every poem seems to have any underlying message.

The poem “When Earth Becomes an ‘It’” was particularly thought provoking. The poem is obviously referring to the way people treat the earth. While what you call the earth is relatively insignificant, the principal of treating the earth with respect is a good one. There is also a lot of truth to the fact that if you abuse the earth, it will come back to haunt you. This can easily be seen in the Middle East where areas that were once fertile plains are now deserts.

A more confusing, but fascinating poem was “Smoky Mountain – Woman.” This poem, which glorifies the resiliency of the Smoky Mountains, paints a very beautiful picture. The poem points out that the rugged Smoky Mountains are pounded with rain, ice, and wind. Nevertheless, each year in the spring the mountains give birth to laurel and other foliage. It is this reproduction power that draws the author’s comparison of the mountains with a woman.


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