“An American Sunrise” is a new collection (released October 2019) by Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019. She is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Numerous collections of poetry she has published in years past have won many literary awards and honors. “An American Sunrise” should soon follow suit.
Ms. Harjo’s work is filled with what she is more passionate about, her people, and social justice that seems to have been withheld from them now for centuries. Her poetry is filled with the pain and angst of the modern world and some of their most sacred cultural practices. She proposes throughout her work a spirit of collaboration and understanding of cultures that often seem to be at odds with contrasting values and ideals. She celebrates her heritage and laments the injustice done upon her ancestors.
Some of my favorite poems in the collection include: Break My Heart, Directions to You, The Story Wheel, Rising and Falling, My Man’s Feet, Becoming Seventy and Cehotosakvtes. These were all both deep and moving. My favorite aspect of poetry is how despite being a part of differing cultures, lifestyles, even geographical differences, there is something human in expressing our hopes and fears, our joy and defeats, and doing so in our own unique way that others can still relate to and understand in their own life.
This is an excellent collection, which is well worth your time. Go get your copy from Amazon here.
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