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Denise Lajimodiere, "His Feathers Were Chains"

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Denise Lajimodiere does poems from her book. Each poem is paired with a new music composition. A drum group plays for a jingle dress dance.

Poetry and music. Denise Lajimodiere's book of poems, His Feathers Were Chains, was published in 2020 by the NDSU Press. Here is their description.
"Lajimodiere’s newest collection of poetry takes its title from a statue the author observed--an Indian on a horse--fashioned from welded-together farm implements. The premise of the collection is overt criticism of settler society, but the poetry is subtle, approachable, and grounded in Ojibwe knowledge and customs. Feathers is divided into five sections: Broken Glass Dreams, Identity, His Feathers Were Chains, Thin White Heat, and Dancing with a Whirlwind."

In this thrilling performance, Denise Lajimodiere recites five poems. Each is paired with music composed and performed for that poem. They are Ultimate Demise (Steve Makela, composer);
Slow Time (Doug Harbin, composer);
Dakota January (Doug Harbin, composer);
His Feathers Were Chains (Russ Peterson, composer); and
Identity Crisis (Kristi Fullerton, composer).
The music is performed by Lisa Bost (alto flute), Laura Kellogg (flutes) and Russ Peterson (bassoon and soprano saxophone).
After the poetry, the drum group "Young Red Moccasin" starts to play, and Denise, a longtime jingle dress dancer, brings out several other dancers. They end with a Friendship Dance.

This event was organized by The Spirit Room (of Fargo) as part of an NEA Big Read project culminating in an appearance in Fargo by Joy Harjo. Steve Makela, who is on The Spirit Room Board, facilitated it, as well as composing one of the music pieces. It took place at the Plains Art Museum. Funding was from the National Endowment for the Arts and HumanitiesND.

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