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City in the Sky

Julia Older

City in the Sky

Drawing on her years of living in Mexico and researching for a book on New Mexico, Julia Older taps into the heartline of Mayan and Anasazi descendants. The city in the sky that she writes of is known as Acoma, the oldest mesa village of the Pueblo people in the Southwest. In this chapbook, Older sets in motion a series of powerful poems evocative of these great and ancient people. She takes as her clue to their greatness a central Navajo guideline of life--"Beauty all around me, with it I wander."

She writes of "First Rites" and how:

    Carrying gifts of piki and lightning stones
    the Anasazi climb the sacred spruce
    to the City in the Sky and smile
    on me from the Enchanted Mesa.

In her Afterword, Older tells of her seven-mile hike ("a pilgrimage") into a broad red rock canyon to Keet Seel where a 40-foot pole ladder leads to an isolated millennia-old dwelling beneath a massive sandstone cliff sweeping skyward. She writes in the Afterword how at Hubble Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona, she shared the silence of a Navajo woman "sitting at her four-cornered loom with wooden cross-poles, weaving tight lines of spun yarn. Now I sit at my four-cornered desk weaving words into poems."

From here she brings back the "yarn" for her poems "Wide Ruins," "Lakota Ghost Dance," "Buffalo" and the others in this haunting collection. City in the Sky is part of the four-volume Walking to Windward Series of poetry.

 Julia Older
 $8.00 (19 pp) Quality Trade Paperbound
 Oyster River Press, 2001
 ISBN 1882291662
 Prompt shipment
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"One senses Older could make anyplace seem mysterious and wondrous, but these settings in particular serve to facilitate journeys through time and even space."
-- Jane Eklund, Monadnock Ledger
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