Monday, February 3, 2020
In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a haunting, visionary memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.
After Joy Harjo became the American Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019, I wanted to learn a little more about her. I bought one of her books of poetry, An American Sunrise, and am slowly making my way thru it, enjoying it thoroughly. And then Crazy Brave pops up, a memoir Joy Harjo wrote way back in 2012. Did I even notice it when it was first published? Would there be a reason for me to notice it? It is a slim book, but from the reviews I have read (stirring, moving, exquisite, gritty, mystical) I am more than curious about Joy Harjo's life as well as how she can put all that in 176 pages. If only we didn't have to leave the trail in 2012 and follow her journey all the way to her being named Poet Laureate. And I hesitate to say the first Native American Poet Laureate only because I feel her merit for the honor should be based on her writing and not on her heritage. Published by W.W. Norton & Company. On my wishlist!