A “raw and honest” (Los Angeles Review of Books) memoir from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States.
In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a haunting, visionary memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.
About the Author
Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently An American Sunrise, and one previous memoir, Crazy Brave. She edited the anthologies When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through and Living Nations, Living Words. Named poet laureate of the United States in 2019, she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.
A saga about the survival of spirituality and creativity in the face of generations of racism, dispossession, and familial dysfunction…Fantastic, terrible and beautiful.
— Rebecca Steinitz - Boston Globe
Stirring…In her harrowing and ultimately hopeful story, Harjo allows the reader to know her intimately, and we are enriched by her honesty.
A must-read for her fans and a fascinating door into her world for those new to her work.
— Elizabeth Wilkinson - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Gritty and mystical…Reads like a sacred prayer.
— San Francisco Chronicle
Exquisite…A must-read for anyone who appreciates the healing power of literature.
Blunt, moving…[Affirms and acclaims] the artistic impulse.
Dances into hard truth. [Harjo’s] fine crafting of words and deft braiding of mythic visions throughout the text almost—almost—draw you past the truth of her personal story. That story is harsh and scary, mystical and loving, and, ultimately, triumphant and healing.
— Indian Country
Joy Harjo has always been able to see with more than her eyes. Her writing is a testament to this gift. Her memoir honors her own journey as well as those who fell along the wayside. Her hero’s journey is a gift for all those struggling to make their way.
— Sandra Cisneros
Joy Harjo is a giant-hearted, gorgeous, and glorious gift to the world. Her belief in art, in spirit, is so powerful, it can’t help but spill over to us—lucky readers. Wildly passionate and honest as a hound, Crazy Brave invites us into a whole new way of seeing—deeper, less cluttered, and vastly more courageous than our own. It’s a book for people who want to re-fall in love with the world.
— Pam Houston