University of Minnesota
Voices From the Gaps

Voices From the Gaps' home page.

Diane Glancy

Biography / Criticism

Diane Hall Glancy, of Cherokee and English/German descent, was born on March 18, 1941, in Kansas City, Missouri. Glancy's Cherokee great grandfather, Woods Lewis, was born in 1843 in what was then known as Indian Territory. Forced to flee to Tennessee where he joined the Fourth Calvary (Union Army), Lewis settled in Arkansas after the Civil War where the family lived until Lewis Hall, Glancy's father, moved to Kansas City.

In Kansas City, Glancy graduated from high school in St. Louis (1959) and later attended the University of Missouri where she earned her undergraduate degree in English (1964). She then married Duane Glancy and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, about 100 miles from where her great grandfather was born, when her husband took a job with a utility company there. Glancy finished her M. A. at Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1983.

Later Glancy worked as an Artist-in-Residence for the State Arts Council of Oklahoma, and after her divorce, she signed on as a full-time teacher, which required her to travel constantly for two years.

When her son, David, and her daughter, Jennifer, had graduated from high school, Glancy applied to and was accepted by the Iowa Writers Workshop in Iowa City where she earned her M. F. A. in 1988. While in Iowa City she completed Trigger Dance, Iron Woman, a play called "Stick Horse," and her master thesis Lone Dog Winter Count. After finishing her degree, Glancy was persuaded by Alvin Greenberg to take her current position at Macalester College in Saint Paul, where she teaches Native American literature and creative writing courses. In her work, Glancy often reflects upon the tensions between her Cherokee and her European heritage.

The majority of Glancy's work is based upon Native American life and how traditional values and ways of life interact and are juxtaposed with those of modern America. She develops stories that focus on the rich and varied oral traditions of her people, oftentimes swiching narrative voices to create a vivid and living tapestry of Native life.

Glancy advises students to "keep doing what you believe in no matter how unimportant or unvalued it seems to be to others. My children always used to say, 'get a real job. ' And I said, 'I have a real job-It's Poetry. ' Of course, they laughed. But I stuck with it because I felt the written word was mine. It's taken years-and much dicipline to work and work with words when they didn't seem to come out right. But it's paid off. " The numerous awards, grants, and fellowships she has earned seem to support her conclusion.


Glancy has written numerous works across a wide range of genres, including the recent poem "The Shadows Horse" (2003); The Mask Maker: A Novel (2002); American Gypsy: Six Native American Plays (2002); and The Voice that was in Travel (1999), a collection of vignettes and novellas. Glancy often writes from a stance in between two cultures, not fully a part of either. As she says with her own opinion: “I write with a split voice, often experimenting with language until the parts equal some sort of whole.” This quote is fascinating because it is quite evident that she is experimenting with the English language\grammar when the novel Stone Heart was written. This novel, grammatically speaking, is written in an unorthodox style for the times in which it was published.

On Fall 2004, Diane Glancy visited a literature class at the University of Minnesota. Students listened to Glancy as she addressed the content of one of her most recent novels, Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajawea (2003). The discussion immediately started off as a comfortable conversation. Her words were magnetically poetic as they reached the students. It was as if she powerfully drew in the attention of her audience with picturesque phrases. She used metaphors relating to each of the five senses to explain her thoughts to piece together her literature. She said she is adamant about performing adequate research during the process in which she composes her literature. Glancy meticulously explained to the students her motivation for researching, as: “The eardrum is like a womb – it gives birth to words; by listening, sound becomes something that can be named” (quoted from class visit). This metaphor illustrates her strong belief in visiting the places she writes about in order to truly feel the spirit of those who passed through it before her.

Selected Bibliography

Works by the Author



Short Stories


Video Recording

In Anthologies

Journal Articles

Works About the Author


Andrews, Jennifer. “A Conversation with Diane Glancy.” American Indian Quarterly 26.4. Lincoln: U Nebraska Press, 2002. 645.

Works in Languages other than English


Fellowships and Grants

Related Links

NativeWiki.Org: Diane Glancy
Information about Glancy's work and awards and her writings available online.

Macalester College - Diane Glancy
This is Glancy's webpage at Macalester College. It contains information on her works and about the classes she teaches.

Women-Spirit Exhibit
This site contains some information about Glancy and cites some of her works from different genres.

Purdue University
This site is a great way to begin to learn about Cherokee Indians which is very helpful for Glancy's work in Pushing the Bear.

W.W. Norton
A brief biography and briefly explores her work.


Minnesota Public Radio
Glancy talks about her novel Stone Heart.

Michigan State University
An interview with Glancy where she reflects on her work and reads some of her work.


Arbor Web
A review of Glancy's novel Stone Heart.

University of Minnesota Press
Review of The West Pole.


Online Chimes: “Author Glancy defines distinctively Christian voice in Native American Lit”
This site includes an essay in which the author argues that Glancy uses "a distinctively Christian voice" in her writing.

Report a dead link or suggest a new one by emailing


This page was anonymously submitted on 12/6/96. The Biography and Criticism and Selected Bibliography were supplemented by Melissa Handt, Christopher Koch, and Shaundra Ziemann on 12/17/04.