Photo: Matika Wilbur
Photo: Matika Wilbur

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and was named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019.

The author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children's books, and a memoir, Crazy Brave, her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Writers’ Award, a Rasmuson US Artist Fellowship, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

An American Sunrise

Poems

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.

An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo

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.

Praise for An American Sunrise

Press: Interviews, Reviews, Articles

June 17, 2020, PEN America
Into the Streets: Writers Recommend Books of Protest

As protest rights are threatened around the country, as documented in the new PEN America report Arresting Dissent, we turn to books that demonstrate the power and importance of taking action and speaking out against racism, oppression, censorship, and injustice. We asked authors, historians, and scholars to share one book that has inspired and informed them as they write, create, and dissent.

June 12, 2020, The New York Times
The Poems That Poets Turn To in a Time of Strife

Joy Harjo, along with fifteen poets, tell us about the verses and books they are reading, or that they hope others seek out. Read here

May 22, 2020, Poetry Society of America
Dean Rader on Harjo's "Perhaps the World Ends Here"

Poet Dean Rader reflects on the poem he turns to in difficult times: Joy Harjo's "Perhaps the World Ends Here." Read more at Poetry Society of America.

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Librarian of Congress Names Joy Harjo the Nation's 23rd Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation’s 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2019-2020. Harjo will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library’s annual literary season on Sept. 19 with a reading of her work in the Coolidge Auditorium.