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Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and novelist N. Scott Momaday has died

N. Scott Momaday

The Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and novelist N. Scott Momaday died last week at the age of eighty-nine. His debut novel House Made of Dawn, published in 1968, was one of the first novels published by a Native American writer about Native American life, and has been called the harbinger of the Native American Renaissance. Momaday considered himself primarily a poet. In his 2022 “Art of Poetry” interview (currently unpaywalled), he told the Paris Review: “Part of the process is living with a poem for some time before you know what it is. It’s best to recognize that you’re not going to write many brilliant poems. If just one stands the test of time, that’s something that justifies your existence.”

At The Nation, Viet Thanh Nguyen calls for Asian American solidarity with Palestine and discusses Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism: “If Orientalism provided much of the intellectual energy that drove the growth of Asian American literature and culture, many of us forgot or overlooked that Said was Palestinian and claimed the Palestinian cause as his own.”

Harper’s has published an excerpt from Lucy Sante’s I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition, out now from Penguin Press, in its current issue. In the excerpt Sante, who has been publishing criticism since 1981, reflects on changing her byline: “I wasn’t so much worried about the market and its possible confusion as I was worried about the continuity of my writing, by which I really meant the continuity of my self.”

Online at n+1, Dan Piepenbring writes about Brian Becker and Marley McDonald’s documentary film Time Bomb Y2K, which is composed of archival footage conveying the mass hysteria leading up to the new millennium. “The Year 2000 required you to pursue or flee from coincidence,” Piepenbring writes. “Regardless of your feelings about The Year itself (just a number—about Jesus) there were the computers to think about. They were harder to ignore, being plugged in. To the grid. With the information.”

Christopher Benfey is leading a group reading of Willa Cather’s 1918 novel My Ántonia at Ann Kjellberg’s Book Post. The first installment will cover Book One of the novel, and will be posted here on February 4.