Illuminations

An American Sunrise

by Joy Harjo

We were running out of breath, as we ran out to meet ourselves. We
were surfacing the edge of our ancestors’ fights, and ready to strike.
It was difficult to lose days in the Indian bar if you were straight.
Easy if you played pool and drank to remember to forget. We
made plans to be professional — and did. And some of us could sing
so we drummed a fire-lit pathway up to those starry stars. Sin
was invented by the Christians, as was the Devil, we sang. We
were the heathens, but needed to be saved from them — thin read more »
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Read Deborah Landau's piece "We are all soft targets": "A failure of imagination may prove tragic for us now."

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Review of Joy Harjo's An American Sunrise: celebration, crisis, brokenness and healing.

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Reviews of new, stunning collections of poetry including Joy Harjo's An American Sunrise and Tina Chang's Hybrida.

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Read brilliant, tracing poems – including one by Camille Dungy – in this Literary Timeline of African-American History.

An American Sunrise


Congratulations to our new Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, on the release of her latest: An American Sunrise.
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These writers bring to life real-world youth awakening to activism. They show young people of color for whom defiance holds the key to decoding the complexities of our shared histories.