Layli Long Soldier Poem Analysis

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While reading Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas, I was pleasantly surprised with how I liked the literature. As I am not a fan of poetry I wasn't expecting to like this particular piece, but I found that many, if not most, of the poems were fascinatingly executed. Another theme I found that was incorporated into many pieces was land and territory. One of the first poems that caught my attention was “Three”. In this poem Long Soldier structures her poem so that it creates a box shape which ironically is what the poem is about. She writes, “This is how you see me the space in which to place me” (pg. 8). This poem creates, literal, imagery of land and territory. We can also see how Long Soldier feels as though people place her in a box whether it be physical, reservations, or metaphorical, Indigenous stereotypes. Although Long Soldier’s usage of land and territory could be interpreted into signs of resignation, I would say that they are even bigger …show more content…

An example of historical memory can be seen in her piece “38”. In this specific piece she refers back to the history of Wounded Knee, “As already mentioned, thirty-eight Dakota men were subsequently hanged” (pg. 52). Here, the graphic depiction of the Sioux Uprising which resulted in the largest “Legal” execution in U.S. history. By rearranging and erasing language from the U.S.’s “Resolution of Apology,” Long Soldiers turns her oppressor’s words into resistance. A prime example of this is when she breaks down and rr-pieces the words in her poem “(5) I express commitment to reveal in a text the shape of its pounding-” (pg. 93). This poem’s structure reveals resistance because it shows that the words of apology extended to the Indigenous people mean nothing to them, if not backed up by action. I think this tactic is effective because it lacks unnecessary aggression, but at the same time does not excuse the

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