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Book Title: The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems|
The author of the book: Joy Harjo
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Loaded: 2746 times
Reader ratings: 5.3
Edition: Audio Literature
Date of issue: August 1st 1997
ISBN 13: 9781574531497
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 690 KB
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This year I am participating in Bingo in the group catching up on classics. For my poetry square, I selected The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee Native American tribe and upon publication of this collection is a professor at the University of Arizona. A poet who finds inspiration in the works of Audre Lorde, Harjo writes of personal issues, Native American folk tales, and social issues that have been plaguing her community for centuries. A collection of heart felt poems, Harjo is a leading voice in Native American circles.
Harjo finds strength in her family history, which is part of many native tribes. She writes how members of her family found their names, relationships with the land and animals, and touching stories about members of her own family. The centerpiece and title poem of this collection, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, gets its inspiration from the moving tale of Harjo's grandmother who raised seven children in poverty. Rather than loving her children, each one was an additional burden for her. Even though a gifted storyteller, she did not express love to her children or grandchildren. Harjo has been determined to change this cycle and has welcomed her own grandchildren with unconditional love.
I enjoyed the tales of powwows and viewing of the northern lights and other forays into Native American culture. These demonstrate to me that the culture is thriving despite the efforts of white America to subjugate Native Americans over the years. From her position as a story teller, Harjo urges her people to cut down on alcohol dependence, which has killed too many victims over the years, either directly or indirectly. Her story of two taxi drivers gunned down in acts of senseless violence and of innocent victims killed by gang violence in Oakland were especially moving. Harjo hopes that members of her community take her words to heart and limit their violence and chemical dependencies, even though she realizes that this will take a sustained group effort.
Although I was captivated by the Harjo's story telling abilities, her deep prose has won her many awards including the William Carlos Williams Award and two NEA grants. Whether the stories in these poems are happy or depressing, Harjo's moving prose is deeply personal and pulls the reader in immediately. The first two poems in the collection, Reconciliation: A Prayer and The Creation Story, set the tone for the entire book. Additionally, following each poem, Harjo reveals the story behind the story, allowing for deeper insights into her work and life.
Because of classics Bingo, I am reading various works and genres that I would not have normally exposed myself to. Joy Harjo's poetry falls into both categories, and her prose is extremely moving that I am glad to have read it. A leading Native American voice who writes deeply personal prose, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky rates 5 scintillating stars.
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Read information about the authorBio Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. She has released four award-winning CD's of original music and won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year. She performs nationally and internationally solo and with her band, The Arrow Dynamics. She has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, in venues in every major U.S. city and internationally. Most recently she performed We Were There When Jazz Was Invented at the Chan Centre at UBC in Vancouver, BC, and appeared at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her one-woman show, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, which features guitarist Larry Mitchell premiered in Los Angeles in 2009, with recent performances at Joe’s Pub in New York City, LaJolla Playhouse as part of the Native Voices at the Autry, and the University of British Columbia. Her seven books of poetry include such well-known titles as How We Became Human- New and Selected Poems and She Had Some Horses. Her awards include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She was recently awarded 2011 Artist of the Year from the Mvskoke Women’s Leadership Initiative, and a Rasmuson US Artists Fellowship. She is a founding board member and treasurer of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Harjo writes a column Comings and Goings for her tribal newspaper, the Muscogee Nation News. Soul Talk, Song Language, Conversations with Joy Harjo was recently released from Wesleyan University Press. Crazy Brave, a memoir is her newest publication from W.W. Norton, and a new album of music is being produced by the drummer/producer Barrett Martin. She is at work on a new shows: We Were There When Jazz Was Invented, a musical story that proves southeastern indigenous tribes were part of the origins of American music. She lives in the Mvskoke Nation of Oklahoma.
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