University of Wisconsin-River Falls

UW-RF Home > University Communications Home > This Month's News Releases

University Communications

News Source

Author Peter Razor to Speak

By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau

APRIL 8, 2005--Award-winning author, Peter Razor, will read his stark, haunting prose from his book, "While the Locust Slept," at 4:15 p.m., on April 19 in the Chalmer Davee Library Breezeway at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Razor, a first-time author at age 72, chronicles his survival of abuse and bigotry as an Ojibwe man at a state orphanage in the 1930s, and the brutal farm indenture that followed.

Through transcendent prose, Razor recalls his early years as a ward of the state of Minnesota. Disclosing his story through flashbacks and relying on research from his own case files, Razor pieces together the shattered fragments of his boyhood into a memoir that reads as compellingly as a novel.

Abandoned as an infant at the State Public School in Owatonna, Minn., Razor is raised by abusive workers who thought of him as nothing more than "a dirty Injun." Cut off from his family and his heritage, he turns inward, forced to learn about the world on his own. After failed attempts to run away from the orphanage, he is indentured by the state to an abusive, reclusive farm family. Beaten, poorly fed, clothed in rags, and worked like a slave laborer, he struggles to attend high school and begins to dream of another life.

Winner of a Minnesota Book Award, Razor's "While the Locust Slept" presents a stark and often chilling story, devoid of self-pity. Razor recalls with haunting clarity the years he, like the locust, patiently waited to awaken and emerge.

Razor currently is an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwa. As an adult, Razor researched his past and culture and began dancing in powwows and learning to make traditional garments. In recent years, he has received acclaim for the instruments he makes, including hand drums, rattles and jingles.

For more information, contact Kay Montgomery at 715/425-3742.

-30-

Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:21 Central Daylight Time

University of Wisconsin - River Falls
410 South Third Street River Falls, WI USA 54022-5001 (715)425-3911
Copyright © 1995-2009 University of Wisconsin-River Falls