Granddaughters

Joy Harjo

I was a thought, a dream, a fish, a wingAnd then a human beingWhen I emerged from my mother's riverOn my father's boat of potent feverI carried a sack of dreams from a starlit dwellingTo be opened when I begin bleedingThere's a red dress, deerskin moccasinsThe taste of berries made of promisesWhile the memories shift in their skinsAt every moon, to do their ripening

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Joy Harjo is the author of eight poetry collections and a memoir, Crazy Brave. The recipient of the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and 2015 Wallace Stevens Award, she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow. She was appointed United States poet laureate in June 2019.

“Full of celebration, crisis, brokenness, and healing.”
— Daisy Fried, The New York Times

“If you only read one book of poems this summer, make it An American Sunrise.... Every step of the journey is deeply moving.... Rich and deeply engaging, An American Sunrise creates bridges of understanding while reminding readers to face and remember the past.”
— Elizabeth Lund, The Washington Post

“While the subject matter of her new poems continuously hits you in the gut, Harjo brings a sense of resilience to that dark history.”
— Christian Allaire, Vogue

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