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Ants and Orioles: showing the art of Pima poetry by Donald M. Bahr, Lloyd Paul, Vincent Joseph

By Donald M. Bahr, Lloyd Paul, Vincent Joseph

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Extra resources for Ants and Orioles: showing the art of Pima poetry

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What makes some sequences good poetry can be stated in three steps. First, it is unlikely that any full sequence is ever repeated. The individual songs are perfectly memorized, but the sequence is improvised both in selection and ordering. Second, the improvisation is subject to rules. Third, strings are considered good when the rules are obeyed and when the chosen combination seems appropriate to the time, place, and occasion. The credit for that appropriateness goes to the singer, the artist, who is the Page xi master of rules and selector of songs.

In this process, Paul and I were concerned with how to render the singing into plain speech, not with making the plain speech beautiful. Accordingly, the reduction costs the songs their beautiful sounds. That loss is not made up in the first stage of translation. There the task is to match each plain Pima word with an English equivalent, either a word or short phrase. The result is a choppy, raw English. Not all of the poetry is lost in those stages. Regardless of how they sound, the plain Pima and the raw English still convey pictures, and those picturesverbal imagesare part of the songs' poetry.

The others were from the Quechans at Yuma, the Mojaves at Parker, the Hopis, and Navajos (who camped separately and cooked their own sheep), and, in New Mexico, the Zunis. (Gila River did not have a band, nor did the Apaches). They played at each others' reservation celebrations and at ceremonials in cities and towns near one or another home reservation: Gallup, Flagstaff, Winslow, Mesa, Phoenix, Casa Grande, Tucson. This was the beginning of those towns' public acknowledgement of Indians, that is, of Indians' progress.

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