Last week our 2021 author, Joy Harjo, released Poet Warrior: A Memoir. This book serves as a follow-up to her previous memoir Crazy Brave.
NPR reviewed this book saying, “This is a book about pain and growth; a narrative that shines a light on compassion and stresses the importance of rituals. Harjo talks about the significance of our ancestors’ stories and lessons, discusses the music that shaped her childhood in a broken home, and shares her understanding — and conversations — with other artists, her family and elders, messenger owls, snakes, birds, and plants.”
This is the perfect book to read to learn more about our Big Read kick-off author and prepare for her upcoming visit! During our kick-off event on October 25 participants will have the chance to learn more about her story.
Below is one of my favorite poems from her book of poems An American Sunrise, which talks about being a warrior. The final lines are my favorite, which read, “But it is not in me to give up./ I was taught to give honour to the house of the warriors/Which cannot exist without the house of the peacemakers.”
The Fight by Joy Harjo
The rising sun paints the feet
of night-crawling enemies.
And they scatter into the burning hills.
I have fought each of them.
I know them by name.
From before I could speak.
I’ve used every weapon.
To make them retreat.
Yet they return every night
If I don’t keep guard
They elbow through openings in faith
Tear the premise of trust
And stick their shields through the doubt of smoke
To challenge me.
I grow tired of the heartache
Of every small and large war
Passed from generation
But it is not in me to give up.
I was taught to give honour to the house of the warriors
Which cannot exist without the house of the peacemakers.