A nationally best-selling volume of wise, powerful poetry from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States.
In this stunning collection, Joy Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where the Mvskoke people, including her own ancestors, were forcibly displaced. 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.
Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections and two memoirs, most recently Poet Warrior. The recipient of the 2023 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Full of celebration, crisis, brokenness and healing.
— New York Times Book Review
Harjo, though very much a poet of America, extracts from her own personal and cultural touchstones a more galactal understanding of the world, and her poems become richer for it.
— Maya Phillips - The New Yorker
Rich and deeply engaging, An American Sunrise creates bridges of understanding while reminding readers to face and remember the past.
— Elizabeth Lund - Washington Post
[Joy Harjo’s] poems are accessible and easy to read, but making them no less penetrating and powerful, spoken from a deep and timeless source of compassion for all.… [A] stark reminder of what poetry is for and what it can do.
— Craig Morgan Teicher - NPR
[An American Sunrise] touched me to the marrow.
— Oprah - O, The Oprah Magazine
A powerful reminder as to why [Joy] Harjo’s voice is so at home everywhere.… When a poet scales her gaze so grandly, something strange and miraculous happens to poetry. It opens up and becomes more than a mere literary device, it becomes a delivery system of wonder.… Harjo’s goal as a poet has been to wake us up, to talk to us as if there is nothing so natural as singing. It is impossible to read this beautiful book and not wonder if our world would be a little better if more of us remembered how.
— John Freeman - Boston Globe
While the subject matter of her new poems continuously hits you in the gut, Harjo brings a sense of resilience to that dark history.
— Christian Allaire - Vogue
Radiant.… [A] profound, brilliantly conceived song cycle, celebrating ancestors, present and future generations, historic endurance and fresh beginnings.
— Jane Ciabattari - BBC
Reveals glimpses of life in Oklahoma’s Muscogee Creek Nation alongside delicately rendered ruminations on memory, family and healing.
— Drew Tewksbury - Los Angeles Times
[A] resplendent and reverberating new volume.… Harjo’s bracing political perspective is matched by timeless wisdom.… In clarion, incantatory poems that recalibrate heart and mind, Harjo conveys both the endless ripples of loss and the brightening beauty and hope of the sunrise.