About the Author
Dakota native and Sioux writer Marnie Walsh earned a BA in history and English from Pennsylvania State University and an MA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. As a graduate student,
Walsh received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Walsh was very private about her personal life and released almost no biographical information. She died in 1995.
Walsh is the author of novels Dolly Purdo (1975) and The Four-Colored Hoop (1976) and Grass Heart, as well as a collection of poetry, A Taste of the Knife, which was published in 1976 and has since been reissued by Ahsahta Press.
A Sioux writer whose work has been called a precursor to that of Louise Erdrich, Walsh’s poems and novels depict the harsh realities of Native American and reservation life in spare, unforgiving language. Walsh’s work has appeared in From the Belly of the Shark, Voices from Wa’Kon-Tah, Dacotah Territory, Scree, the South Dakota Review, and The Third Woman: Minority Writers of the United States. (Reprinted from the Poetry Foundation website).
The ScholarWorks website describes Marnie Walsh's poems in this abstract:
As an outdoorswoman, an observer of hunters, Indians, creatures of nature, and the things of earth, Marnie Walsh seems to have been most impressed by the grimness of life. The sordid and the brutal, in both man and nature, enter her poems with more force and more power than do the lyrical elements of a very few of her poems. Most of these poems, especially in their observations of Indians, are character sketches with a persistent similarity. Their strength derives from accumulated evidence, from repetition which is much like the pounding of a drum.
One beat is hardly distinguishable from another, but this sameness is an important part of her observations and implied interpretations. Especially in the sketches of Indians, where it is impossible to let the futility and the monotony of reservation life pass by unnoticed, the regularity of theme and technique operates like a wacipi drum, pounding its way into the reader’s
A Taste of the Knife
You may view the entire contents of Walsh's collection of poems at the ScholarWorks website.