Joy Harjo - NEA Big Read Traverse City

Joy Harjo - Traverse Area District Library

Tuesday April 19, 7 pm EST

(Free, virtual event. Reserve your ticket here.)

An American Sunrise is a stunning volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land.

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.

We are able to present this event thanks to a NEA Big Read Grant secured by the Traverse Area District Library, the Dennos Museum Center, and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians. The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. If you would like to participate in group discussions and other NEA Big Read events prior to Ms. Harjo’s visit, you can find them on