Conflict resolution for holy beings Poems

Joy Harjo

Book - 2015

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New York : W. W. Norton & Company [2015]
Main Author
Joy Harjo (author)
First edition
Physical Description
xvi, 139 pages ; 22cm
  • Part 1. How It Came to Be
  • "I lay my body down..."
  • For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet
  • "For any spark to make a song..."
  • Rabbit Is Up to Tricks
  • "Listened to an alto sax player..."
  • No
  • "Humans were created by mistake..."
  • Once the World Was Perfect
  • "When I woke up from a forty-year sleep..."
  • Cricket Song
  • "After years you realize..."
  • Entering the Principality of O'ahu by Sky Roads
  • "Each human is a complex, contradictory story..."
  • We Were There When Jazz Was Invented
  • "This is only one of many worlds..."
  • Reality Show
  • "When I blow my horn..."
  • Beautiful Baby, Beautiful Child
  • Part 2. The Wanderer
  • Talking with the Sun
  • "'One way to look at it,' he told me..."
  • Spirit Walking in the Tundra
  • "Where we lived, the settlers built their houses..."
  • Mother Field
  • "Let's not shame our eyes..."
  • Walk
  • "Midnight is a horn player..."
  • Charlie and the Baby
  • "When I walk over to join you in the two-step..."
  • Had-It-Up-to-Here Round Dance
  • "'Through these doors walk some of the finest...'"
  • One Day There Will Be Horses
  • "When I returned to my ancestral grounds..."
  • Goin' Home
  • "Our Mvskoke new year is inherently..."
  • The First Day Without a Mother
  • Part 3. Visions and Monsters
  • Falling, Falling
  • "Imagine if we natives went to the cemeteries..."
  • In Mystic
  • "This is the kitchen table university..."
  • Listening to Blues in a Fish Joint, Downtown Denver
  • "I would do anything for you, baby..."
  • Indian School Night Song Blues
  • "Do not feed the monsters..."
  • Suicide Watch
  • "We all have helpers..."
  • This Morning I Pray for My Enemies
  • "Ah, but what about being..."
  • Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings
  • "The first horn I played..."
  • Forever
  • "And then I argued with myself..."
  • I Am Not Ready to Die Yet
  • "Whenever a saxophone begins..."
  • Report from the Edge of a Terrible Regime
  • "In one house lives the sun..."
  • From DFW Airport at Dawn
  • "What kept me going was that perfect song..."
  • The Last World of Fire and Trash
  • Part 4. The World
  • You Can Change the Story, My Spirit Said to Me as I Sat Near the Sea
  • "Those who could see into the future predicted the storm..."
  • Sunrise Healing Song
  • "I knew there was no way..."
  • It's Raining in Honolulu
  • "The day went on as it always had..."
  • Praise the Rain
  • "Time is a being, like you, like me..."
  • Rushing the Pali
  • "I thought of all the doors..."
  • Surfing Canoes
  • "I returned to the city of country swing..."
  • Speaking Tree
  • "I heard a raven cry the blues..."
  • Everybody Has a Heartache
  • "Everyone comes into the world..."
  • For a Girl Becoming
  • "I keep thinking of my boyfriend..."
  • Fall Song
  • "My friend Sarita went visiting..."
  • For Keeps
  • "I confided in him the longing..."
  • Equinox
  • "What are you doing there, soul..."
  • Sunrise
Review by Booklist Review

The title of Harjo's long-awaited new collection provokes such questions as Why would holy beings be in conflict?, which Harjo answers by suggesting we are the holy ones at odds because we have forgotten all that is holy about us. These poem-songs have a magical quality akin to incantation as they conjure up a collective remembering. Through them, Harjo seems to sing the holy back into the world, sing the world's beauty and love back into being, sing praise for nature's songs, sing self, history, and humanity into a form we can recognize and (hopefully) revere again. Song becomes the vehicle for conflict resolution, built of jazz riffs, blues rhythms, and Native American chants. Harjo's ancestors here are both hereditary and chosen for their musical, poetic, and mythical influences. These honest, innovative poems return us to the essential recognition of a time when There was no I' or you.' / There was us; there was we.' Harjo's inspired collection hits home when it tells us, This is about getting to know each other. --St. John, Janet Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Big but fast-moving, and inviting as it expresses tenacity and outrage, Harjo's first collection of verse since her 2012 memoir, Crazy Brave, will please her fans. Harjo's long lines, short prose paragraphs, and song-like lyrics record her Muskogee heritage, her love of jazz ("there's something about a lone horn player blowing ballads at the corners of our lives"), and her high hopes for poetry itself, which creates a means of personal rescue ("we sang our grief to clean the air of turbulent spirits") and a new moral high ground ("songs that aren't paid for/ By the money and influence/ Of rich, fat, corporate gods"). Harjo records and performs music frequently, but some of the songs here do not translate well to the page ("One day I will be tough enough/ One day, I will have love enough/ To go home"). The book is not a new-and-selected, though some nonsong poems have previously appeared in earlier books and may find new life here. Less predictable are pages about living, landscape, and Native heritage in Hawaii-her part-time home-and pages about her visit to "the lands named 'Alaska' now": these verses and anecdotes give the volume its freshness, even as they take part in Harjo's larger project of Native, and human, solidarity. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

In her first volume of poetry in more than ten years, Harjo (Crazy Brave), a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, travels the Trail of Tears, moving from a bend in the Tallapoosa River to the banks of the Arkansas. The poems, typically juxtaposed against short, jazzy prose introductions, are often narrative and as often songs with repeated refrains, even litanies-hardly surprising, as Harjo is a performer as well as a poet. In each poem, there is music that riffs and sings and sometimes drums, as well as a sense of community and connection: "To understand each/ other is profound beyond human words.// This is what I am singing." Yet while the volume is imbued with story and song, tales and invocations, and myth, chants and epistles, at its heart is ceremony, the need to create and re-create, to bless and restore. Ceremony elevates and expiates experience, and in many ways these poems are rituals of becoming, allowing us to heal, to become better, to become again: "Every poem is an effort at ceremony./I ask for a way in." VERDICT A poignant collection that will draw in a range of readers; appropriate for many libraries. [See Prepub Alert, 6/14/15.]-Karla Huston, Appleton, WI © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.