One of our recommended books for 2019 is Rebel Poet by Louis V. Clark (Two Shoes)

REBEL POET

More Stories from a 21st Century Indian


This eagerly anticipated follow-up to the breakout memoir How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century delves more deeply into the themes of family, community, grief, and the struggle to make a place in the world when your very identity is considered suspect.

In Rebel Poet: More Stories from a 21st Century Indian, author Louis Clark examines the effects of his mother’s alcoholism and his young sister’s death, offers an intimate recounting of the backlash he faced as an Indian on the job, and celebrates the hard-fought sense of home he and his wife have created.

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This eagerly anticipated follow-up to the breakout memoir How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century delves more deeply into the themes of family, community, grief, and the struggle to make a place in the world when your very identity is considered suspect.

In Rebel Poet: More Stories from a 21st Century Indian, author Louis Clark examines the effects of his mother’s alcoholism and his young sister’s death, offers an intimate recounting of the backlash he faced as an Indian on the job, and celebrates the hard-fought sense of home he and his wife have created. Rebel Poet continues the author’s tradition of seamlessly mixing poetry and prose, and is at turns darker and more nuanced than its predecessor.

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  • Wisconsin Historical Society Press
  • Paperback
  • August 2019
  • 112 Pages
  • 9780870209291

Buy the Book

$15.95

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About Louis V. Clark III (Two Shoes)

Born and raised on the Oneida Reservation, Louis V. Clark III (Two Shoes) turned to poetry to continue the oral tradition of his people, the People of the Standing Stone. His memoir How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, received the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for 2017.

Discussion Questions

1. The book opens with an Oneida Indian prayer of Thanksgiving. How does this set the stage of Louis’s identity discussions that follow?

2. What inspired Louis to write poetry? What are some things that would inspire you to write poetry?

3. What challenges did Louis face as a child related to his struggles with identity?

4. What kind of discrimination has Louis faced? How does he channel his encounters with racism into his poetry?

5. Louis coped with the challenges he faced in his life by writing poetry and, as he writes in “I-A Poet” identifies in two worlds —  Polish and Oneida Indian – as a poet. Why is poetry an effective medium for coping with challenges in his life, your life?

6. Louis writes about the more hidden forms of racism he encountered at work, being held back from positions and promotions, etc. Have you encountered this? Have you seen this done to others? Will his discussion of covert racism affect the way you view your workplace; if so, how?

7. What particular poem stood out to you and why?

8. How do our multiple identities shape the way we see the world? How do you see this reflected in Rebel Poet?

9. How does the content of the poems evolve throughout the book?

10.  What makes Louis’ poetry stand out from other poets?