An American Sunrise


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

Media: Interviews, Reviews, Articles

March 17, 2020, ALTA
Joy Harjo reimagines a national narrative in An American Sunrise.

I take an abid­ing plea­sure in know­ing that Joy Har­jo is the poet lau­re­ate of the Unit­ed States. After all, Har­jo — a mem­ber of the Musco­gee (Creek) Nation and the first Native Amer­i­can to be so hon­ored — speaks for an Amer­i­ca I…

November 26, 2019, Boston Sunday Globe- Books
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. 

August 29, 2019, The New Yorker
Joy Harjo, the Poet of American Memory

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.” —The New Yorker

August 22, 2019, TIME
The First Native American U.S. Poet Laureate on How Poetry Can Counter Hate

Joy Har­jo, the first Native Amer­i­can U.S. poet lau­re­ate, tells TIME about her new book, An Amer­i­can Sun­rise,’ and the state of poetry.

August 13, 2019, The New York Times
From the Country’s New Poet Laureate, Poems Reclaiming Tribal Culture

From the Country’s New Poet Lau­re­ate, Poems Reclaim­ing Trib­al Culture

In June, after decades as a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence for poet­ry read­ers, Joy Har­jo was named Unit­ed States poet laureate.

August 13, 2019, Smithsonian
Joy Harjo’s New Poetry Collection Brings Native Issues to the Forefront

In An Amer­i­can Sun­rise, Harjo’s 16th book of poet­ry, released by Nor­ton this week, she con­tin­ues to bear wit­ness to the vio­lence encoun­tered by Native Amer­i­cans in the after­math of Andrew Jackson’s Indi­an Removal Act. Her words express that the…

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