Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems

Joy Harjo. Norton, $26.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-393-24850-0
Big but fast-moving, and inviting as it expresses tenacity and outrage, Harjo’s first collection of verse since her 2012 memoir, Crazy Brave, will please her fans. Harjo’s long lines, short prose paragraphs, and song-like lyrics record her Muskogee heritage, her love of jazz (“there’s something about a lone horn player blowing ballads at the corners of our lives”), and her high hopes for poetry itself, which creates a means of personal rescue (“we sang our grief to clean the air of turbulent spirits”) and a new moral high ground (“songs that aren’t paid for/ By the money and influence/ Of rich, fat, corporate gods”). Harjo records and performs music frequently, but some of the songs here do not translate well to the page (“One day I will be tough enough/ One day, I will have love enough/ To go home”). The book is not a new-and-selected, though some nonsong poems have previously appeared in earlier books and may find new life here. Less predictable are pages about living, landscape, and Native heritage in Hawaii—her part-time home—and pages about her visit to “the lands named ‘Alaska’ now”: these verses and anecdotes give the volume its freshness, even as they take part in Harjo’s larger project of Native, and human, solidarity. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/19/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-393-24851-7
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-393-35363-1
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