Mvskoke (Creek) Nation citizen Joy Harjo (She Had Some Horses) has given us poetry with a lyrical Native American voice for decades, keeping the narrative of the contemporary native world alive in American literature. With Crazy Brave, Harjo's memoir of her journey to becoming a writer, her fans can learn the story behind the voice.
Born in Tulsa, Okla., where the Trail of Tears forced her ancestors to settle, Harjo spent her early years in the sheltering shadow of her beautiful mother and womanizing father. When their marriage dissolved, Harjo's mother married a volatile man, turning life into a maelstrom of abuse and control. Harjo narrates her escape to an Indian arts boarding school, capturing both its beauty and brutality. Her harrowing struggle with hunger as an impoverished pregnant teenager and her journey through single motherhood and through anxiety attacks to the discovery of her gifts will haunt and mesmerize readers.
Part autobiography, part prose poem and part mythology, this memoir begs to be read aloud. Harjo traces the origin of her poetic, musical and theatrical careers, but she offers much more than reminiscences. Her story is an account of the forging of a woman's soul, the hammer blows striking only to reshape her into a sharp and powerful blade of words and music. Slim of spine but lush with Harjo's trademark singing imagery, this raw and radiant coming-of-age story invites readers to "breathe the light in" and discover their own hidden capabilities. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger, Infinite Reads