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Revard, Carter 1931-

Revard, Carter 1931-

(Carter Curtis Revard)

PERSONAL: Born March 25, 1931, in Pawhuska, OK; son of McGuire and Thelma Louise (Camp) Revard; married Stella Hill Purce, 1956; children: Stephen, Geoffrey, Vanessa, Lawrence. Ethnicity: "Native American (Osage)." Education: University of Tulsa, B.A., 1952; Oxford University, M.A., 1959; Yale University, Ph.D., 1959.

ADDRESSES: Home—6638 Pershing Ave., St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Amherst College, Amherst, MA, instructor, 1956–59, assistant professor of English, 1959–61; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, assistant professor, 1961–66, associate professor, 1966–77, professor of English literature and language, 1977–1997, professor emeritus, 1997–. Missouri Academy of Sciences, visiting linguist, 1965–67; System Development Corporation, consultant to lexicography project, 1966–67, associate resident scientist, 1967–68; University of Tulsa, visiting professor, 1981; University of Oklahoma, Visiting Sutton Professor of Humanities, 1989. American Indian Center of St. Louis, board member, 1980–81 and 1984, secretary, 1986–90, president, 1990–95; St. Louis Gourd Dancers, member.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, Association for Studies in American Indian Literature, River Styx Literary Organization (past secretary), Association of American Rhodes Scholars, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: Rhodes scholarship for England, 1952; received Osage Indian name "Nompewathe," 1952; Oklahoma Book Award, 1993, for An Eagle Nation; resident, Millay Colony for the Arts, 1994; Rockefeller Foundation fellowship for residence at Bellagio in Italy, 1996; resident at MacDowell Colony, 1998; resident in Spain at Mojacar, Fundación Villaparaíso, 2002; Lifetime Achievement Award, Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, 2005; grants from American Council of Learned Societies and National Endowment for the Humanities; Neil Ker fellow, British Academy.


My Right Hand Don't Leave Me No More (poetry), Eedin (St. Louis, MO), 1970.

Ponca War Dancers (poetry), Point Riders Press (Norman, OK), 1980.

Cowboys and Indians, Christmas Shopping (poetry), Point Riders Press (Norman, OK), 1992.

An Eagle Nation (poetry), University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1993.

Family Matters, Tribal Affairs (memoir), University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1998.

Winning the Dust Bowl (memoir in prose and poetry), University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 2001.

How the Songs Come Down: New and Selected Poems, Salt (Cambridge, England), 2005.

Contributor of poetry, essays, and short stories to collections, including Voices of the Rainbow, Viking (New York, NY), 1975; I Tell You Now, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1987; Talking Leaves, Dell (New York, NY), 1991; Understanding Literatures, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1994; and Nothing but the Truth, Prentice-Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, such as Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Denver Quarterly, Studies in Philology, American Indian Culture and Research Quarterly, Nebraska English Journal, Massachusetts Review, Studies in American Indian Literature, West Coast Review, Studies in American Indian Literature, and World Literature Today.

Revard's poetry has also been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, and Hungarian.

SIDELIGHTS: Believing that poetry "matters like hell" to Native Americans, African-Americans, and other minorities, Osage poet Carter Revard is quoted in Native North American Literature as saying: "You can hear in the poetry of American Indian writers a genuine felt concern for what is going on." Over the years, Revard has instilled his work with the native traditions he learned while growing up on a reservation in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Revard showed early promise as a writer. By the time he graduated from the University of Tulsa he had won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. There, Revard pursued his interest in literature, becoming an authority on the writings of the Middle Ages. In 1959 he earned his doctorate from Yale University and became a professor of English literature.

Within his extended family, Revard had a great-grandmother (1851–1941) who spoke only Osage and told stories of when her tribe moved from Kansas to Oklahoma in 1872. One Ponca cousin, Carter Camp (an important figure in the American Indian Movement), was a leader and spokesperson during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Since 1970 Revard has incorporated their stories and more in several poetry collections. The title poem in Ponca War Dancers, for example, features his uncle, a ceremonial dancer with the presence of a warrior. Revard's sister makes an appearance as a character in both poems and short stories. "Revard's many cousins also figure in his work," according to Ruth Rosenberg, writing in Notable Native Americans. "And to each of his uncles, he has fashioned a 'giveaway talk,' which is the speech at the end of a dance when gifts are distributed…. Revard considers his poems, which honor a relative or esteemed elder, to be such public affirmations."

To reviewer Daniel Guillory, such works as An Eagle Nation "evoke tribal and childhood memories" that deserve a wide audience. In his article for Library Journal, Guillory described the poet's style as one "that can shift from colloquial narrative poems to tribal chants to Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse." Similarly, World Literature Today contributor Robert Berner found merit in such collections as Cowboys and Indians, Christmas Shopping: one poem, "Nine Beings Speak In Riddles," employs "wit in the original meaning of the word, and Revard's merging of the Anglo-Saxon form both with a tribal sense of the purpose of poetry and with his own vision is remarkable."

"I'd like to see American Indian writing be a standard for this country," Revard told Joseph Bruchac in the book Survival This Way: Interviews with American Indian Poets. "I'd really like to see this country judged by its Indian people as a civilization and brought into the dock and given its good and bad marks. Until you do that you don't have an epic, and I'd like to see the Indian people do the epic for this part of the earth."



Arnold, Ellen, editor, The Salt Companion to Carter Revard, Salt (Cambridge, England), 2006.

Bruchac, Joseph, editor, Survival This Way: Interviews with American Indian Poets, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1987.

Krupat, A., and B. Swann, editors, I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1987.

Native North American Literature, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.

Notable Native Americans, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.

Porter, Joy and Kenneth M. Roemer, The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 2005.

Revard, Carter, Family Matters, Tribal Affairs, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1998.

Revard, Carter, Winning the Dust Bowl, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 2001.

Wilson, Norma, The Nature of Native American Poetry, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2001.


Library Journal, September 1, 1993, Daniel Guillory, review of An Eagle Nation, p. 188.

Oklahoma Today, September, 1993.

Studies in American Indian Literature, Volume 15, number 1, 2003.

World Literature Today, spring, 1993, Robert Berner, review of Cowboys and Indians, Christmas Shopping, p. 423.

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