Helen Diane Hall was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother of English-German descent and a father of Cherokee heritage. She married Dwane Glancy in 1964, the same year she received her B.A. from the University of Missouri. The couple had two children, David (b. 1964) and Jennifer (b. 1967), but the marriage was unhappy and ended in divorce in 1983. Glancy completed an M.F.A. from the prestigious creative writing program at the University of Iowa in 1988. In 1992, she became a professor at Macalaster College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Glancy’s creative output is varied and prolific. In addition to poetry collections such as (Ado)ration, she has published novels, essay and short-story collections, plays, scripts, and literary criticism. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as an American Book Award.
(Ado)ration is Glancy’s most sustained interrogation of Native American and Christian spiritualities. The collection moves from an initial presentation of these spiritualities as a dichotomy to a new and richer hybrid or “syncretic” spirituality (literally “syn” meaning with or together and “cret” meaning creed or beliefs). This syncretic belief system is developed through a series of historical, personal, and metaphysical encounters.
Glancy’s poetry defamiliarizes Christianity—not through a demonization of the conquerors and their religion, but through a struggle of faiths as seen from the Native American perspective that takes place across time, between cultures, and within the narrator. Particular Christian tenets that seem incomprehensible from the Native American perspective at the opening of the collection are recontextualized at later moments in the collection, showing how the narrator individually and Native Americans collectively are constantly struggling to understand and to re-create Christianity in a form that combines Old and New World perspectives.
One of the most striking ways in which Glancy...
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