A. A. Lemieux Library's

Sherman Alexie Webpage

 


In recognition of Sherman Alexie's receipt of an honorary degree from Seattle University and his presence on campus during the 2000-2001 Academic Year, Lemieux Library offers this guide to works by and about him available in the library's collections and links to other pertinent web sites.

Honorary Degree
Books Music and Film
Anthologies Web Sites

Biographical Sketch



Honorary Degree

Remarks of Father Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., President, at Seattle University's Commencement, June 11, 2000

"Sherman Alexie, you have captivated the American imagination with what you call "little books about one little reservation in Washington State." Your work to replace our flat vision of noble savages with three-dimensional portrayals of modern heroes and villains who happen to be (and I defer to using your term here) Indian has garnered critical acclaim and commercial success.

"Raised on the Spokane Indian Reservation, you overcame a childhood of ill health and poverty. You battled your own alcoholism as well as the alcoholism of those around you, and emerged to become one of our country's most prolific and celebrated writers.

"Sherman Alexie, you left the reservation to attend Reardan High School, where you graduated with honors. You attended Gonzaga University on a scholarship, and graduated with a degree in American Studies from Washington State University, where you developed a passion for poetry.

"Sherman, you have written 11 books of poetry and fiction, and contributed poems to eight anthologies. You wrote a screenplay based on one of your collections of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. In 1998,that movie, Smoke Signals, won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival. You have received a number of other prestigious awards, including: the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship; the Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award Citation; and the PEN/Hemmingway Best First Book of Fiction Citation. The New York Times has named two of your works to its Notable Books list, and Granta Magazine named you one of the 20 best American novelists under age 40.

"Your voice brings a new perspective to our understanding of life in the Northwest, of our region's first inhabitants, and of the modern-day struggle we all share, to make peace with our collective past. Therefore, in recognition of your accomplishments as a writer and a storyteller, upon you, Sherman Alexie, Seattle University proudly confers the degree of doctor of humanities, honoris causa."


Books by Sherman Alexie in the Lemieux Library Collection

The Business of Fancydancing: Stories and Poems.
Brooklyn, NY: Hanging Loose Press, 1993.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 B87 1991

Indian Killer.
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1996.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 I56 1996

First Indian on the Moon.
Brooklyn, NY: Hanging Loose Press,1993.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 F5 1993

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 L66 1993

The Man Who Loves Salmon.
Boise, Idaho: Limberlost Press, 1998.
Special Collection: PS3551 .L35774 M36 1998 [Access by appointment only]

Old Shirts and New Skins.
Los Angeles: American Indian Studies Center, University of California, 1993.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 O43 1993

One Stick Song.
Brooklyn, NY: Hanging Loose Press, 2000.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 O53 2000

Reservation Blues.
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1995.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 R74 1995

Smoke Signals.
New York: Hyperion, 1998. [screenplay]
Circulating Collection: PN1997 .S6115 1998

The Summer of the Black Widows.
Brooklyn, NY: Hanging Loose Press, 1996.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 S86 1996

The Toughest Indian in the World: Stories.
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000.
Circulating Collection: PS3551 .L35774 T68 2000

Water Flowing Home: Poems.
Boise: Limberlost Press, 1996.
Special Collections: PS3551 .L35774 W38 1996 [Access by appointment only]

Scribner's Best of the Fiction Workshops, 1999.
New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1999. [guest editor]
Circulating Collection: PS659 .S38 1999


Music and Film by Sherman Alexie in the Lemieux Library Collection

Reservation Blues: The Soundtrack. [compact audio disc]
By Jim Boyd & Sherman Alexie. Inchelium, WA: Thunderwolf Productions, 1995.
Circulation Desk: M1669 .B69 1995

Smoke Signals: Music from the Miramax Motion Picture. [compact audio disc]
TVT Records, 1998.
Circulation Desk: M1527 .S584 1998

Smoke Signals. [video]
Burbank, CA: Miramax Home Entertainment, 1999.
Circulating Collection: PN1997 .S61152 1999


Anthologies including work by Sherman Alexie in the Lemieux Library Collection

The Best of Young American Novelists.
London: Granta Publications, 1996. (Granta 54)
Circulating Collection: PS536.2 .B47 1996

Dreaming the Dawn: Conversations with Native Artists and Activists.
Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
Circulating Collection: E98 .A7 C15 1999

Durable Breath: Contemporary Native American Poetry.
Anchorage: Salmon Run Press, 1994.
Circulating Collection: PS591 .I55 D96 1994

Earth Song, Sky Spirit: Short Stories of the Contemporary Native American Experience.
New York: Anchor Books, 1993.
Circulating Collection: PS508 .I5 E25 1993B

Edge Walking on the Western Rim: New Works by 12 Northwest Writers.
Seattle: One Reel; Sasquatch Books, 1994.
Circulating Collection: PS570 .E34 1994

Full Court: A Literary Anthology of Basketball.
New York: Breakaway Books, 1996.
Circulating Collection: PS648 .B39 F85 1996

Home Field: Nine Writers at Bat.
Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1997.
Circulating Collection: GV863 .N84 H65 1997

Northwest Passages: A Literary Anthology of the Pacific Northwest from Coyote Tales to Roadside Attractions.
Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1994.
Circulating Collection: PS570 .N67 1994

Pacific Northwestern Spiritual Poetry.
Walla Walla, Wa.: Tsunami, 1998.
Circulating Collection: PS570 .P33X 1998

Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First North American Native Writers' Festival.
Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, 1994.
Circulating Collection: PS508 .I5 N67 1994

Seattle Poets and Photographers: A Millennium Reflection.
Seattle: Seattle Arts Commission; University of Washington Press, 1999.
Circulating Collection: PS572 .S6 S438 1999

The Writer's Notebook.
[Includes an essay by Alexie on his creative process, with samples from his notebooks.]
San Francisco: HarperCollinsWest, 1995.
Circulating Collection: PN245 .W75 1995



Web Sites with Related Resources

The Official Sherman Alexie Site
resources, work, events and other information

Sherman Alexie home page
includes links to writings, reviews and information on the Spokane Tribe

Native American Authors Project - The Internet Public Library
online resources by or about Sherman Alexie

Native American Texts
online writings and other resources, compiled by Osaka University

WWW Virtual Library - American Indians
links to electronic texts available on the Web


Biographical Sketch: Sherman Alexie

Sherman J. Alexie, Jr. was born in October 1966 on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. His heritage is with the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene Indian nations. Raised on the Spokane Reservation in eastern Washington, he overcame a childhood of poverty, ill health, and alcoholic parents to become one of our country's most prolific young writers.

Alexie was born with a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. He underwent a brain operation at the age of six months and was not expected to survive. Suffering from seizures and ill health throughout childhood, Alexie found solace in books and became a voracious reader. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife, Diane Tomhave and their son, Joseph.

Alexie left the reservation to attend Reardan High School where, as he says, he was "the only Indian except for the school mascot." In high school, he was president of the freshman class and Future Farmers of America, captain of the basketball team, and member of the debate team and National Honor Society. He graduated with honors and attended Gonzaga University on a scholarship.

The culture shock of university life proved to be too much for Alexie, and he began to drink heavily. At the end of his sophomore year, struggling with the alcoholism that had plagued his parents, he dropped out of Gonzaga to regain his sobriety. Alexie returned to college three years later and graduated with a degree in American Studies from Washington State University in Pullman. At WSU, he discovered a love for poetry and began to flourish as a writer.

His poems were first published in 1992 by Hanging Loose Press as The Business of Fancydancing. Since then, his works have been compiled in 11 books and he has contributed poems to eight anthologies. Alexie is perhaps best known for The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, a 1993 short story collection, and Smoke Signals (1998), the ShadowCatcher Entertainment film based on the stories. Alexie wrote the screenplay, and the movie won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Rights to his first novel, Reservation Blues, have recently been acquired by ShadowCatcher and Mirimax films. Alexie is writing the screenplay and will make his directorial debut with the film version. His forthcoming book, The Toughest Indian In the World, is due out this spring in hardcover from Grove/Atlantic.

Alexie has received a number of prestigious awards, including: the Washington State Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship; the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship; the Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award Citation; the PEN/Hemmingway Best First Book of Fiction Citation; and the Lilah Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. The New York Times has named two of his works to its Notable Books list, and Granta Magazine named Alexie one of the 20 best American novelists under age 40.

   (Source: Seattle University, Office of Public Relations)
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