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Books by John G. Neihardt

A Bundle of Myrrh

The first published collection of poems by John G. Neihardt earned him extravagant praise from critics and the attention of literary circles in New York. Daring in its embrace of sensuality, rapid-fire emotion, and free verse, the thirty-one poems in A Bundle of Myrrh marked the very public beginning of the career of America’s great epic poet. This collection fell into the hands of Mona Martinsen, a student of the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Taken with the passionate young poet from Nebraska, Martinsen began corresponding with Neihardt and later married him.



A Cycle of the West

Complete edition, includes all five songs from The Mountain Men and The Twilight of the Sioux. The Cycle of the West is a sweeping saga of the American West and John G. Neihardt’s exhilarating vision of frontier history. Unquestionably the masterpiece of the poet who has been called the “American Homer,” A Cycle of the West celebrates the land and legends of the Old West in five narrative poems: The Song of Three Friends, The Song of Hugh Glass, The Song of Jed Smith, The Song of the Indian Wars, and The Song of the Messiah. This unforgettable epic of discovery, conquest, courage, and tragedy speaks movingly and resoundingly of a unique American experience.



A Cycle of the West: Annotated Edition

A Cycle of the West rewards its readers with a sweeping saga of the American West and John G. Neihardt’s exhilarating vision of frontier history.  It is infused with wonder, nostalgia, and a keen appreciation of epic history.  Unquestionably the masterpiece of the poet who has been called the “American Homer,” A Cycle of the West celebrates the land and legends of the Old West in five narrative poems:  The Song of Three Friends (1919), The Song of Hugh Glass (1915), The Song of Jed Smith (1941), The Song of the Indian Wars (1925), and The Song of the Messiah (1935).  This unforgettable epic of discovery, conquest, courage, and tragedy speaks movingly and resoundingly of a unique American experience.  The new introduction by former Texas poet laureate Alan Birkelbach and annoations by Joe Green present fresh views of Neihardt’s iconic work.



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All is But a Beginning

The first volume of John G. Neihardt’s autobiography covering the years from 1881-1901.

Introduction by Dick Cavett



Black Elk Speaks

The life and vision of an Oglala Holy Man as related to John Neihardt, is widely hailed as a religious classic, one of the best spiritual books of the modern era. This inspirational and unfailingly powerful story reveals the life and visions of the Lakota healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) and the tragic history of his Sioux people during the epic closing decades of the Old West. In 1930, the aging Black Elk met a kindred spirit, the famed poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Lakota elder chose Neihardt to share his visions and life with the world.



Eagle Voice Remembers

An Authentic Tale of the Old Sioux.
Previously published as When the Tree Flowered, Eagle Voice Remembers is John Neihardt’s mature and reflective interpretation of the old Sioux way of life. Through his writings, Black Elk, Eagle Elk, and other old men who were of that last generation Sioux to have participated in the old buffalo-hunting life and disorienting period of strife with the U.S. Army found a literary voice. What they said chronicles a dramatic transition in the life of the Plains Indians; the record of their thoughts, interpreted by Neihardt, is a legacy preserved for the future. Neihardt’s granddaughter Coralie Hughes wrote the Foreword in which she states the text of Eagle Voice Remembers should be considered “a companion volume to the widely known Niehardt classic Black Elk Speaks.”



Indian Tales and Others

Shimmering tales of American Indian lives and worlds, exciting accounts of the long-lost western frontier; these seventeen short stories are among the best ever penned by the acclaimed author of Black Elk Speaks. Dazzling, true to the subject, and highly readable, these tales of the Omaha Nation and of the Nebraska frontier experience show a master storyteller at the height of his craft.



Life’s Lure

The bitter darkness of frontier life pervades John G. Neihardt’s fascinating second novel, set during the Black Hills gold rush. A dashing gentleman gambler named Louis Devlin does his best to tempt and corrupt two earnest, good men-Samuel Drake, who has squandered his fortune in a Deadwood card game and Punkins, a callow farm boy who yearns to be rich. A lust for wealth, as Neihardt warns in many of his greatest works, has dire consequences. Set within the legendary gold rush town of Deadwood, these struggling souls and others are on a head-on collision course with their fate. Philosophical and rich in detail, the novel authentically captures the eagerness, cynicism, and desperation of gold rush Deadwood at its lowest and highest.



Lyric Poems

A collection of John G. Neihardt’s poetic works that brings together lyric poetry that appeared originally in three separate volumes: A Bundle of Myrrh, Man-Song, andThe Stranger at the Gate. Also included are selections from A Vision of Woman, The Poet’s Town and two dramatic poems formerly published together under the title Two Mothers.




This edition of John G. Neihardt’s Man-Song is the first complete reprinting of the work since 1909.  Man-Song expresses a side of Neihardt barely visible from other collections of his poems.  They are aggressive love poems, published just months after Neihardt’s fifty-year marriage to Mona Martinsen began.  The collection is full of autobiographical hints from Neihardt’s little-known twenties.



Patterns and Coincidences

Volume II of John G. Neihardt’s autobiography is a continuation of All is But a Beginning and offers a final glimpse into his fascinating life covering the years 1901-1908.



The Ancient Memory

John G. Neihardt brings to life death-defying and vulnerable fur traders and Indians, demi-devils and almost-angels in these nine short stories about the Nebraska frontier experience and the Omaha Nation. These stories were featured in popular magazines between 1905 and 1908.



The Dawn-Builder

John G. Neihardt’s first novel written prior to WWI tells the story of Mr. Waters, a one-eyed, one-legged printer, habitual self-loather, and consummate drinker who finds himself in Ft. Calhoun, Nebraska Territory, in the 1860’s. While working for the town newspaper, Waters’ isolation is shattered by two women: a motherly widow and a beautiful Island Girl, whose dark fate in the rough world of the American West ultimately changes Waters’ life.



The Divine Enchantment, paperback

John G. Neihardt’s first published long poem, springs forth from Neihardt’s fascination with Hindu mysticism and myth, the epic poem relates the vision of Devanaguy, who became the mother of Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu. This mystical poem reveals the youthful exuberance of Neihardt as well as the brilliant visionary writer to come, concerned with the interrelationship of the divine and daily life.



The End of a Dream

A collection of short stories about the people of the Omaha Nation that appeared in popular magazines between 1901 and 1907; all nine stories are influenced by Neihardt’s experience among Omaha Indians and shaped by the power of his imagination.



The Giving Earth

Includes nearly forty selections representing every phase of Neihardt’s art, from the passionate poetry of his youth to the masterworks of his maturity to the reflections of his old age. Neihardt wrote in nearly every major genre including fiction, lyric and epic poetry, biography, autobiography, travelogue, literary criticism, and essay form. This sampler of Neihardt’s poetry and prose resurrects the outlines of a long and varied literary career.



The River and I

In 1908, the brilliant poet and writer, John G. Neihardt, traveled by canoe down the then-untamed Missouri River for fifty-six days. His account showcases the long ago, fascinating world through which the mighty Missouri passed. The River and I is at once a classic adventure tale, an enduring homage to the Old West, and a tale of an abiding love for a relentless river and those affected by it.



The Song of Three Friends

A resounding tribute to the intrepid explorers and mountain men who braved the western wilderness in the first decades of the nineteenth century. How was the rugged American West braved and then settled? America’s foremost epic poet, John G. Neihardt, tells of the ordeal of the last frontier and how a stalwart character could prove to be more than a match for it. The Song of Three Friends is also an essential tale in Neihardt’s epic masterpiece, A Cycle of the West.



The Splendid Wayfaring

This is an exciting story of the fur traders and trappers who explored and opened up the American West in the first decades of the nineteenth century. As told by the acclaimed poet and writer, John G. Neihardt, the era of the mountain men unfolds through the legendary exploits of Jedediah Smith, the first white man to cross the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin from west to east; and the first to travel by land to California and northward to the Columbia River. The Splendid Wayfaring also reveals the triumphs and challenges of other fur traders, many in the employ of William H. Ashley and Andrew Henry.



Books about John G. Neihardt

A Sender of Words

This volume brings together fourteen lifelong admirers of John G. Neihardt, who each contribute a portrait or an appreciation of this American original. This collection of essays in memory of John Neihardt is written by such noted authors as Dee Brown, N. Scott Momaday, Alvin M. Joseph, Bobby Bridger, Lucile F. Aly and edited by Vine DeLoria, Jr.



A Warrior of the People

This is the story of Susan La Flesche, a woman who effectively became the chief of an entrenched patriarchal tribe and broke through walls of ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice to become the first Native American doctor in the United States in 1889.



Black Elk & Flaming Rainbow, Personal Memories of the Lakota Holy Man and John Neihardt, by Hilda Neihardt

In 1931 John Neihardt traveled to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to interview Lakota elders who had witnessed the Ghost Dance and the Wounded Knee Massacre. He met Black Elk, and their two weeks of intense talks became Black Elk Speaks; accompanying him to help observe and take notes were his two daughters, Enid and Hilda. Black Elk & Flaming Rainbow is Hilda Neihardt’s memories of those interviews. She celebrates the days and nights of storytelling, camping, feasting and horseback riding with the fresh eyes of a bright fourteen year old. The volume includes never-before-published photographs and answers many questions about the collaboration between the Lakota holy man and her father, called Peta Wigamou-Gke, or Flaming Rainbow.



Black Elk Lives, Conversations with the Black Elk Family; by Esther Black Elk DeSersa, Olivia Black Elk Pourier, Aaron DeSersa, Jr.; Clifton DeSersa

The story and teachings of Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950), first recorded by John G. Neihardt in Black Elk Speaks, have played a critical role in shaping the way in which American Indians and others view the past, present, and future. These conversations with the descendants of Oglala Lakota holy man Nicholas Black Elk offer an intimate look at life on the Pine Ridge Reservation and fresh perspectives on the religious, economic, and political opportunities and challenges facing the Lakota people today. In addition to revealing more about Black Elk the healer, the family also provides glimpses of Black Elk as a family man, teacher and influential ancestor.



Dreamcatcher, the Life of John Neihardt; by Marion Marsh Brown & Jane K. Leech

John Neihardt’s life is dramatically portrayed by authors Brown and Leech, as they cover his early years in Nebraska and his travels down the Missouri River. They tell of his unusual romance and marriage to a New York sculptor and of his work with the plains Indians. Neihardt’s life story will inspire young readers to look within themselves for strength. It will also show them that one’s most challenging dreams can become reality.



Interpeting the Legacy, John Neihardt and Black Elk Speaks; by Brian Holloway

A study of the classic spiritual text, Black Elk Speaks, that makes a convincing case that Neihardt quite consciously attempted to use his literary craftsmanship to provide the reader with direct and immediate access to the teachings of the Oglala elder, Black Elk. Using Neihardt’s original handwritten notes and early manuscript drafts, Holloway demonstrates the poet’s careful and deliberate re-creation of Black Elk’s spiritual world in order to induce a transcendent experience in the reader.



Knowledge & Opinion, Essays and Literary Criticism of John G. Neihardt, Edited by Lori Holm Utecht

An unparalleled glimpse into the social and literary thought of John G. Neihardt, one of America’s most celebrated poets and authors. Featured in these pages are Neihardt’s views of such literary giants as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, H.G. Wells, e.e. Cummings, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Eugene O’Neill, and Upton Sinclair. In their entirety, these essays showcase little known essays and reviews, which deepen and round out our appreciation for the accomplishments of Neihardt by revealing his no-nonsense opinions about noted literary figures and trends, events, and social issues of his day.



Lonesome Dreamer: The Life of John G. Neihardt; by Timothy G. Anderson

This is the first biography of Neihardt in nearly 40 years.  The author describes Neihardt’s life from his humble beginnings in Illinois, to being named poet laureate of Nebraska in 1921, to his appearance on the Dick Cavett Show at the age of 90.  Offering insight into both his personal and his literary life, this biography reaffirms Neihardt’s place in American literary history, his successes and failures, and his unbreakable spirit.

Trade Paperback $24.95

The Broidered Garment, the Love Story of Mona Martinsen and John G. Neihardt; by Hilda Martinsen Neihardt

The daughter of an international financier, Mona Martinsen, was studying sculpture in Paris with the renowned Auguste Rodin. John G. Neihardt, the son of an American pioneer family on the Great Plains, was a brilliant, but impoverished poet and writer. While studying in Paris, Mona was captivated by a little book of poems, A Bundle of Myrrh, a gift from her mother. Mona wrote to the young poet, and through a series of letters between the poet in Bancroft, Nebraska, and the sculptor in Paris, France, they discovered much in common. Drawing on correspondence, interviews, archival research, and her own memories, Hilda Martinsen Neihardt tells the story of how her parents met, fell in love, raised a family and grew old together.



The Sixth Grandfather, Black Elk’s Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt, Edited by Raymond J. DeMallie

In Black Elk Speaks and When the Tree Flowered, John G. Neihardt recorded the teachings of the Oglala holy man Black Elk, who had in a vision, seen himself as the “sixth grandfather,” the spiritual representative of the earth and of mankind. Raymond J. DeMallie makes available for the first time the transcripts from Neihardt’s interviews with Black Elk in 1931 and 1944, which formed the basis for the two books. His introduction offers new insights into the life of Black Elk.



Postcards, posters, publications, audio, etc.

Black Elk’s Prayer



Black Elk’s Prayer, poster

8 x 10″ Poster


Dick Cavett Interview with John G. Neihardt, DVD

When John G. Neihardt, Nebraska’s Poet Laureate in Perpetuity, appeared on the nationally-televised Dick Cavett Show on June 12, 1972, it stimulated additional interest in Neihardt’s work. In this interview, Neihardt explains his meeting with Oglala Lakota Holy Man Black Elk, his conversations with other historical figures such as the Crow scout Curley and Captain Grant Marsh about the Battle at the Little Big Horn, and recites “The Death of Crazy Horse,” one of the most moving portions of his great Cycle of the West.



John G. Neihardt Cassette Recording

50 minutes of John G. Neihardt reading excerpts from several of his major works including “The Death of Crazy Horse,” from Song of the Indian Wars, “Black Elk’s Prayer,” from When the Tree Flowered, “April Theology,” and “Easter.”

Cassette Tape


Neihardt Journal

A copy of presentations from the John G. Neihardt annual Spring Conference event. Volumes 1-13: $3.50 each.



Neihardt Journal, Volume 14

A scholarly publication handsomely printed on heavy card stock, containing hard copy of presentations from the John G. Neihardt annual Spring Conferences. Volume 14: $5.00 each.



The Sacred Hoop; by Hilda Neihardt, illustrated by Robin Neihardt

Illustrated, 16 page booklet describing the meaning and significance of the Sacred Hoop as described to Neihardt by Lakota Holy Man, Black Elk



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Make a contribution! Give a gift to the Neihardt Foundation to help us continue to complete outstanding projects. Should you like to give more, you can increase the number of $50 contributions after adding to the cart.


Show your commitment to the mission of the Neihardt Foundation and help us continue to complete outstanding projects.

Your membership plays a key role in helping fund programs and maintain the museum. Join the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a non-profit organization, and take part in its many activities and benefits:

  • John G. Neihardt Spring Conference - a scholarly examination of the subjects and themes of Neihardt (held the last Saturday in April)
  • Neihardt Day - an outdoor festivity on the beautiful Center grounds celebrating Nebraska's Poet Laureate (the first Sunday in August)
  • Special programs and exhibits - a variety of events throughout the year focusing on the history, literature, music, culture and traditions of the plains.
  • Annual edition of the Neihardt Journal - scholarly publication of works by or about Neihardt and related subjects
  • College scholarships given annually
  • 10% discount to members on books purchased

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