Big Read Author: Joy Harjo
Harjo has published numerous award-winning books of poetry—including the 1983 classic She Had Some Horses—as well as children's books and works of nonfiction, including her memoir, Crazy Brave, which took her 14 years to write because she had to face her demons and find the strength to share the pain of her past in a public way. It received the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction and the American Book Award. Harjo's many other awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets; the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award; the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation; and two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) creative writing fellowships. Harjo has also released five albums of music and poetry and is an award-winning saxophonist and vocalist. She performed for many years with the band Poetic Justice and continues to perform today both solo and with her band The Arrow Dynamics, playing the alto saxophone, guitar, flute, horn, ukulele, and bass. Her album Winding Through the Milky Way received a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009.
From National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Big Read - About the Author
Big Read Book: How We Became Human
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.