Today is Native American Heritage Day in the US so, for tonight's reading list, we're spotlighting poet, writer and musician, Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation, whose memoir, Crazy Brave, has been lauded for its honesty and bravery.
In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo, one of our leading Native American voices, details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. She attended an Indian arts boarding school, where she nourished an appreciation for painting, music, and poetry; gave birth while still a teenager; and struggled on her own as a single mother, eventually finding her poetic voice. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice. Harjo’s tale of a hardscrabble youth, young adulthood, and transformation into an award-winning poet and musician is haunting, unique, and visionary.
Also in this list, a beautiful little book of Native American proverbs, The Soul Would Have No Rainbow If The Eyes Had No Tears. Finally, Terreno: Borderland Linguistics, a chapbook comprised of innovative texts and print-based artworks showcasing the spectrum of art produced in response to the ongoing immigration crisis on the US-Mexico border featuring Native poet and activist, Tara Evonne Trudell (Disclaimer: I co-edited this chapbook). As always, you can borrow these books from Libreria when you become a member this December, and all reading lists can be downloaded from the Libreria website at libreriagh.com when we go live.
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