An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo

Staff Pick

In her resounding An American Sunrise (W.W. Norton, $25.95), Joy Harjo, the indefatigable activist, musician, playwright, and fi rst Native American to serve as the U.S. Poet Laureate, tells stories, chants legends, speaks truth to power, and guides the spirit back to its origins. Most of all, she sings. Invoking a past when “there were songs for everything,” she retraces personal, tribal, and national memory to reclaim those songs and sing them anew. This is both in keeping with her Mvskoke legacy—passed on when an elder “blew his most powerful song into the hearts of the children”—and her determination to use her voice to “make a peaceful road/through human history” and not “upset the dead.” While Harjo’s outrage is evident as she recalls the Trail of Tears and the laws which, until 1978, “made it illegal for Native citizens to practice our cultures,” stronger is the impulse to heal divisions, and Harjo writes in the same spirit of inclusiveness with which her ancestors once “made a relative of Jesus, [and] gave him a Mvskoke name.” Squarely facing the losses without losing hope, Harjo practices a timeless “ceremony of grieving/which is also celebration.”

An American Sunrise: Poems By Joy Harjo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324003861
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 13th, 2019

Dunce by Mary Ruefle

Staff Pick

With unassuming language and a tendency toward whimsy, Mary Ruefle’s Dunce is a welcomed surprise. In her pieces—strange and brief—Ruefle manages to pack big gusts of meaning. Existential, or awe-stricken, or loving, or lonely, her poems get a lot across in a small amount of space. And for a poet rooted in beauty, she manages to stay balanced in tone and content, mixing in a good amount of dark with the light, much like nature itself—a topic which comes up again and again in her poems. Dunce is a pleasure and a shock to read, and her words’ quickness and brevity warrant many readings.

Dunce By Mary Ruefle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781940696850
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Published: Wave Books - September 10th, 2019

Casting Deep Shade -- C.D. Wright

Staff Pick

Who knew the beech was such a complex and controversial tree!  This book is an homage to the beech tree - to its spirit, its root system, its meaning for poets, for photographer Denny Moers and mostly for poet C.D. Wright.  Published after the death of C.D. Wright, it is a beautiful object to hold in your hands and its looseness of form - poetry crossed with field notes anecdotes and annotations  - makes it something to browse or to ponder or to lose yourself inside. As Ben Lerner says in the introduction, "It is both C.D.'s book and a loving tribute to her. To her strength and receptivity.”

Casting Deep Shade: An Amble By C. D. Wright Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556595486
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Copper Canyon Press - February 12th, 2019