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Oklahoma City Community College Keith Leftwich Memorial Library

Coming and Going in Oklahoma Indian Country

Banner Image. Leaving Holes by Joe Dale Tate Nevaquayah

About the Book

Leaving Holes & Selected New Writings is a collection of poetry and other writings by Native American and Oklahoman Joe Dale Tate Nevaquaya. The manuscript of the collection was compiled as early as 1992 but was not published until 2011. Leaving Holes was co-winner of the 1992 First Book Awards in Poetry from the Native Writers' Circle. The collection ranges from short haiku-like poems to longer, multi-part poems, often interweaving descriptions of nature and people, depicting the play of light, and incorporating family and other loved ones. The last part of the collection, Nevaquaya's selected writings, are more narrative in form but poetic in their telling. 

"Tumultuous and raucous in places, mirror calm and silent as the falling snow in others, like a free-running stream, the work is uneven and mixed in consistency and form...These poems are meant to be complex, difficult to understand, and unconventional, but are also meant to be enjoyed in the same way that the warm oven welcomes the combined makings for fresh bread."  - Mary E. "Sass" White, from An Introduction to Leaving Holes

About the Author

Joe Dale Tate Nevaquaya is a Native American poet and artist and resides in Norman, OK. He is Yuchi on his mother's side and Comanche on his father's. He was born in the Claremore Indian Hospital in Claremore, Oklahoma in 1953 and grew up in Gypsy, Oklahoma. Along with his published collection of his own works, Leaving Holes & Selected New Writings, Nevaquaya's works have been featured and published in other anthologies and collections such as When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: a Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry and Living Nations Poetry, Living Words: an Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, both by  Joy Harjo, as well as  Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose From the First North American Native Writers' Festival by Joseph Bruchac and Living the Spirit: a Gay American Indian Anthology by  Will Roscoe. 

Leaving Holes was selected as the co-winner of the 1992 First Book Awards for Poetry.

About the Scholar

Tracy Floreani is Professor of English at Oklahoma City University, where she hosts a Let’s Talk About It group on their campus each semester. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Kansas, with a specialization in multi-ethnic American literature. She is the author of Fifties Ethnicities: The Ethnic Novel and Mass Culture at Midcentury and is currently writing a biography of Fanny McConnell Ellison, wife of novelist Ralph Ellison. In her free time she plays folk music and helps her husband restore their 104-year-old farmhouse.