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Poetry Native American

Father / Genocide

by (author) Margo Tamez

Turtle Point Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Native American
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

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“A necessary, urgent, and affecting work.” —Publishers Weekly

“Tamez's poetry disturbs the mind with its bravery of language, musical indictments of culture, and profound good heart. She is one of our great lyric poets. This book is simply wonderful!"
—Norman Dubie, author ofThe Quotations of Bone

On the night before he “walked on,” Margo Tamez's father recorded two questions onto a cassette tape: "Where did all the good men go? Where did they go?" Two decades later, Tamez reconstructs her father's struggle to "be a man" under American domination, tracing the settler erasure, denial, and genocide that he and preceding generations experienced. She reclaims stolen territory in the felt and known history of colonial Texas through Ndé Dene [Lipan Apache] place, memory, and poetics of resistance.

"I was raised up in American violence," Tamez writes, "and I have to explore all of its possibilities ..." Her poetry brings out those possibilities by "timebending," with a poetic form Tamez calls "Indigenous fusionism-Indigenous futurism," a union of pastpresent, bodyknowing, intertext, bent tradition,landguage, and familial blood-knowing,Father |Genocide reveals why impunity on the Texas border is the key to understanding American identity violence. Her lightning poetry strikes the nested seeds and unburies the truth of "these bitter lands."

About the author

Contributor Notes

Margo Tamez is a poet, historian, activist, and Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her writing has appeared in theAmerican Poetry Review,Cimarron Review,Hawaii Pacific Review, andMissouri Review.Her previous collections includeNaked Wanting (2003) andRaven Eye(2007), which won the WILLA Literary Award in poetry. She lives in the unceded territory of the Sqilxw Peoples, Okanagan Nation, BC, Canada.

Editorial Reviews



"Father| Genocide is achef-d’oeuvre that transcends time, borders, space and individual personality to exalt the resilience and strength of Tamez’s people, the Dene Ndé (Lipan Apache). In this stunning new work, Margo defies the limitations of two-dimensional printed media to take readers on an experiential journey into a culture and cosmovision that rebuffs imposed geopolitical limitations and facile, erroneous renditions of its history."

—Darrel McLeod


“In Margo Tamez’s new collection, she writes, “I have arrows.” These arrows speak powerfully and lyrically about the genocidal past, loss, and barriers. Much is revealed here about the Dene Nde’ (Lipan Apache), the land, spiritual existence, and women as lawgivers. In Tamez’s hands the arrows aim true and straight. These voices will not be silenced.”

—Laura Tohe


"What Tamez’sFather| Genocide offers us is an insight into paternal remembrance & identity. The dissection of identity & blending Apache language repurposes the historical memory or benchmarks the archival burden of breaking down barriers, walls, & fences. Tamez's use of vertical lines establishes a hybrid form of space & place. The bending of phrase creates a cyclic motion taking us back to Survivance & reconciliation, a fracture restoration of memory"

Crisosto Apache, author ofGENESIS


"Margo Tamez’s poems are a witness to legacies of colonial violence and family resilience. They unpack how “Ideas are like holsters for guns” or “When fear imprisons the father the whole family internalizes prison through him.” They protest. They name names. They demand to be heard and they imply action. You’ll find yourself positioned in relation to Tamez’s poetry—who am I in the face of these statements? where do I place on this mapof justice? where would I like to stand in relation to this witness?Father|Genocide is a bold book, holding every one of us accountable for a world order we maintain. We have learned well in recent decades just how personal the political can be. Brought together in this collection, Tamez’ poems make that truth a reckoning."

Michael V. Smith


"Tamez's poetry has always possessed an imagery that disturbs the mind with its bravery of language, musical indictments of culture, and profound good heart. In this distressed year of plague, it is so important to have poems that are lumined with truth and courage. She is one of our great lyric poets. This book is simply wonderful!"

Norman Dubie,author of The Quotations of Bone