An American Sunrise included in Ten books to read this August

Harjo, newly named US Poet Laureate, begins her radiant new collection with poems about the 1830 Trail of Tears. Led by Monahwee, her grandfather of six generations back, her Muscogee Creek Nation forebears were “driven away like livestock at gunpoint” from their homelands in what is now Alabama and travelled west to Oklahoma. After Monahwee left, he never turned back. Harjo returned to see what she could find. “Rivers are the old roads, as are songs, to traverse memory”, she writes in this profound, brilliantly conceived song cycle celebrating ancestors, present and future generations, historic endurance and fresh beginnings. Harjo’s title poem speaks for her generation: “…we still want justice. We are still America. We know the rumours of our demise. We spit them out. They die soon”. (Credit: WW Norton)

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