A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land.
In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. A descendent of storytellers and “one of our finest―and most complicated―poets” (Los Angeles Review of Books), Joy Harjo continues her legacy with this latest powerful collection.
Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee Creek Nation and was named United States Poet Laureate in 2019. The author of eight books of poetry and a memoir, Crazy Brave, her many honors include the Jackson Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.