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

November 14, 2019, PBS American Masters Podcast
Joy Harjo on PBS American Masters

In 2019, Joy Harjo became the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States. She joins us from her hometown Tulsa, Oklahoma to talk about the responsibilities that come with this honor and the importance of representing rich Native American storytelling traditions.

October 25, 2019, Publishers Weekly
An American Sunrise

Newly named poet laureate and Ruth Lilly prize–winner Harjo (Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings) intertwines verse with prose vignettes, oral histories, and flash memoirs in this expressive and generous book.

October 21, 2019, The Library of Congress
The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress

Joy Harjo is interviewed by Grace Cavalieri on the Library of Congress's original "Poet and the Poem" podcast series.

More Press

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.