Berkeley Lab

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: Storytelling from Joy Harjo’s book, An American Sunrise – November 18, 2020

cover of bookJoin the Latin American and Native American Employee Resource Group as we celebrate Native American Heritage Month with our final event. We will be reading poetry from the US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s book, “An American Sunrise.” We invite people to pre-read the book if you can and we will be reading select poems from the book and discussing as a group.

Participants can also put their favorite lines in chat, and we will compile a found poem from those that we will share later.

Date: Wednesday, November 18

Time: 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Watch a recording of the event:
Storytelling from Joy Harjo’s poetry

zoom screen shotPoetry Selections:

  1. Singing Everything
  2. Falling From the Night Sky
  3. The Earth’s Grandsons
  4. Directions To You
  5. The Eagle Poem from In Mad Love and War, 1990
  6. Washing My Mother’s Body

Found Poem: Read the full poem

first stanza of poem

An American Sunrise – Poems
A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land. In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. A descendant of storytellers and “one of our finest—and most complicated—poets” (Los Angeles Review of Books), Joy Harjo continues her legacy with this latest powerful collection.

picture of Joy HarjoBiography:

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and was named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019. The author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and a memoir, Crazy Brave, her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Writers’ Award, a Rasmuson US Artist Fellowship, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

More information:

(Photo: Matika Wilbur)