By Dr. Marvin G. Kimbrough, Professor Emerita
Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas
Author and Award-Winning Poet

"I will honor them with word and tale and rhyme," writes Barbara Youngblood Carr, when referring to her ancestors. Honoring them is exactly what she does in the eight books of her Ancestor Series. Her latest book, Windsongs and Moon Spirits, contains four chapters: Travels with Loved Ones: Journeys Following Windsongs, Moon Spirits and Dreams of Dancing Waters; Understanding Messages from the Great Spirit and Our Ancestors; More Psalms of the South: Quirky Ditties and Spirited moon Madness and finally Blessed by Windsongs and Moon Spirits: Visiting Sacred Grounds Where Ancestors Dwell plus well-written Author's Remarks and an impressive Biography.

Although the theme of ancestors runs through the book, other topics such as death, travels throughout the South and Southwest (from small towns in Texas to large cities in Oklahoma and New Mexico), military expeditions, stories and tales of forebears and descendants, humorous tales and poems emerge with frequency. Part of the book is couched in the travels of the author and daughter, Kathleen. The reader travels vicariously with them, enjoys the local color and scenery, learns history, listens to poetry, learns a little Cherokee and feels refreshed and enlightened as different sites are visited.

Carr often writes about the folklore and legends connected to a particular locale, be they the Marfa Lights near Marfa, Texas, the sunset at Lake Travis at the Oasis in Austin or the Roswell Alien Museum in New Mexico or maybe the separation of Christians and non-Christians in the country cemetery between Round Top and Winedale, Texas. The reader is often reminded through Carr's poetry of national sites in the United States of America, such as the Capulin Volcano in New Mexico and the Sitting Bull Canyon near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Carr writes passionately about Native American tribes and their place in American history, be it those who served in the Civil war or in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon. She writes lines or quotations in Cherokee, including citations from Red Cloud, Chief Joseph and Luther Standing Bear.She mixes Cherokee translations into her works. In some venues, she sings "Amazing Grace" in Cherokee. This is included in this book. Her writings are reader-friendly and may be enjoyed by history buffs or younger readers beginning Native American Studies.

Barbara Youngblood Carr's writings are both personal and universal.She often writes about everyday experiences such as a first meal in a restaurant or the way sand felt between her toes on the beach. Although they are everyday experiences, they belong to every man and all can relate to them knowing that similar experiences are indeed universal.

Carr keeps her legacy alive through her forebears and her descendants whether it be standing in front of the same mountain where her Grandfather stood near Fort Davis, Texas or singing the same hymns her Grandfather sang or taking her own daughter on trips where her parents took her. Of her ancestors, she says, "They glitter for us as their eternal spirits fall onto earth to light our paths so we can walk forward into our own destinies."She further states, "They become new again through us" and "When we hear distant wolf howls sing to us, we drift back and still further back, into ourselves, into the lives of our ancestors to our beginnings."

Carr's literary gift of word combinations, imagery and figures of speech allow her to paint word pictures for the reader. She uses such phrases as: "Giants sleep in every stone history was written with men's blood, birds whisper our names to fish and Trees close pores."

Her readers expect humorous poetry and tales in this book, as they have been in others of the Ancestor Series, and in her books such as Roaches Is In!, Slices of Humor, and in her many performances. She does not disappoint them as she includes new poems on these pages such as, "Hips and Knees"; "What Makes a Man Become a Chiropractor?" and "Sometimes I'd Like to Be a Snake!"

Although some might want to read this volume in one sitting, others might want to enjoy each chapter separately, to savor it, think about how it relates to one's own life as each section can: the trips, childhood experiences, the loss of loved ones, memories of one's ancestors, dreams, and daydreams.

Of Barbara Youngblood Carr, it may be said, "Once a poet, always a poet." When Carr was a teenager, she received the first Poet Laureate Medalat her high school graduation. In 2005, she was appointed in Washington,DC to be the first National Poet Laureate for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a title she held through 2008. And in 2009, she is the first recipient of the White Buffalo Native American Poet Laureate Award for her poem, "Stone of Honor." The judges for this prestigious award said of her; "she received this award not only for her excellent writing, but because she is part Cherokee. Her parents are buried in the cemetery about which she writes."

One might wonder how one can produce such a volume of work of such great quality and quantity. How can one find inspiration in observing such critters as fleas and cockroaches? How can one find inspiration in visiting a medical facility, or a therapist? Barbara Youngblood Carr provides an answer in one of her own verses, "I have never been stoned on drugs, but I have been on such creative highs, so drunk with my Muse, that we couldn't write the words down onto pages as fast as they flowed out, like water for chocolate"

Carr has also said, "Another day, another poem," in one of her newly-written poems (which
is not printed in this book); but it is we, her readers, young and old, who plead, "Another book, please, Mrs. Carr?"