Christian Themes

(Ado)ration highlights several key differences between Christian and Native religions. One of Glancy’s major preoccupations as a poet is how the visible relates to the invisible; she suggests that tribal peoples have special knowledge of the tangible world in contrast to the European emphasis on the intangible and the metaphysical. In “Ledger Book Drawing,” for example, Glancy muses over an old Native American drawing of an Indian riding into battle: The artist draws the brave riding sidesaddle because he does not understand how to draw a leg on the other, invisible side of the horse. Glancy uses the ledger book artist to exemplify how the Native religious experience does not grasp the invisible. She later uses a poem about a conquistador riding a horse to exemplify how the Europeans do not respect the material world. In “You Know the Indian,” Glancy reimagines the Indian’s first view of a white conquistador on a horse. He seems to be a six-legged creature who can dismember himself. Glancy suggests that this violent separation of human from animal is emblematic of the European world and the “binary trail” of conflicting cultural and religious perspectives that Native Americans were ever forced to walk after the encounter.

Glancy suggests that a second, essential difference between Christian and Native traditions is in how each tradition approaches religious scripture and myth as authoritative and fixed or as fluid and infinitely...

(The entire section is 473 words.)