Andrew Schelling

From the
Arapaho Songbook


6 x 7 inches

144 pages



Humans, mammals, birds, lizards
all semantically animate objects
sun moon the stars
the constellations too are animate
nouns for spirits, ghosts, the word cottonwood
some deer are just
common deer
others doctors and chiefs
lone autumn cry of the white tail
the power of grammar

“And the disjunction is simply the way / we search for new images,” writes Andrew Schelling in one of these 108 stanzas. The elements joined & disjoined on the surface are taken from natural history, linguistics, and explorations in North American poetry. Having studied for thirty years the languages & poetry of old Asia, Schelling sets out to read the landscapes, the flora & fauna, of the Southern Rocky Mountains with comparable attention to grammar & glottal stops. At the core of these poems is an encounter with Arapaho, an Algonkian language—& a whiff of the postmodern archaic.