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This is the major literary achievement of a sensitive, gifted man. The author is a Yaqui Indian, a railroad gandy dancer who sees beauty in iron spikes and rail clamps as well as in twilight-purple mountains and glossy-leafed cottonwood trees. In the 70 years following his flight from the Yaqui-Mexican wars in Sonora, Savala became a talented poet and loving recorder of his people's cultural heritage. A large sampling of his original works appears in the interpretations section of this book. Together with the beautifully written autobiography, they offer a unique view of Arizona Yaqui culture and history, railroading in the American West, and the personal and artistic growth of a Native American man of letters.
"What is emphasized is Refugio Savala as a man of words, a man of letters, a poet, a Native American literary figure, a cross-cultural interpreter. And rightly so. I find the narrative sections dealing with physical work to be especially strong. A shovel is his 'wing'; 'The Steel Stew' and other poems about railroad work evoke the technology, expertise, and power of railroading."