Bad Indian by J.C. Mehta is a riveting poetry collection that provides glimpses into the poet’s life and the struggles she faces not only as a Native American, but as a woman. In the introduction, the poet brings into focus the plight Native Americans, particularly Native American women, face on a daily basis, including higher murder rates per capita than any other demographic in the United States. This heart-wrenching and sobering introduction not only brings attention to many of the realities faced by Native Americans but also sets the stage for the harrowing poems that follow. From starvation and anorexia to toxic and hollow relationships, J.C. Mehta touches on many topics that are sure to resonate with readers, especially women and Native Americans.
Bad Indian showcases J.C. Mehta’s mastery over imagery and form. Each poem resounds with its own intensity and is artfully constructed for maximum impact. Bad Indian is chocked full of striking metaphors, excellent examples of alliteration, and gripping descriptions that left me breathless and kept me interested. This is one read I truly had trouble putting down. Life is full of good and bad, and Mehta displays this well in her poetry. Many of the poems are heartbreaking, dark, and disturbing—striking just the right tones to match the horrifying introduction. At the same time, some of the poems are filled with hope, providing needed rays of light. Bad Indian by J.C. Mehta is one poetry collection that lovers of the genre certainly won’t want to miss.