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Poet Warrior

A Memoir

October 2021

Joy Harjo (Author)


US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo offers a vivid, lyrical and inspiring call for love and justice in this contemplation of her trailblazing life.

In the second memoir from the first Native American to serve as US poet laureate, Joy Harjo invites us to travel along the heartaches, losses and humble realisations of her “poet-warrior” road. A musical, kaleidoscopic meditation, Poet Warrior reveals how Harjo came to write poetry of compassion and healing, poetry with the power to unearth the truth and demand justice. Weaving together the voices that shaped her, Harjo listens to stories of ancestors and family, the poetry and music that she first encountered as a child, the teachings of a changing earth and the poets who paved her way. She explores her grief at the loss of her mother and sheds light on the rituals that nourish her as an artist, mother, wife and community member. Moving fluidly among prose, song and poetry, Poet Warrior is a luminous journey of becoming that sings with all the jazz, blues, tenderness and bravery that we know as distinctly Joy Harjo.


"A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Harjo is the first Native Poet Laureate of the United States. Her second memoir (after “Crazy Brave”) blends personal journey with cultural meaning, weaving in stories from her ancestors that shaped her growth as an artist and teacher. The result is as strong and lyric as her poetry." — 10 Books To Read in September, The Washington Post

"Blending poetry and prose, Harjo examines her childhood, her ancestors and her path to becoming the country’s first Native American poet laureate." — What To Read, The New York Times

"In this triumphant memoir, our three-term Poet Laureate lyrically fuses poetry and prose to capture her Creek Nation family... “I walk in and out of several worlds each day,” Harjo once wrote—and in Poet Warrior, she threads them all together masterfully." — Adrienne Westenfeld, The Best Books of Fall 2021, Esquire

"Alternating between poetry and prose, Harjo meditates on the stories and songs she grew up with, her artistic and ancestral influences and how poetry informs and reflects her connection to her community and home. The result is a memoir that is soulful and celebratory." — 34 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2021, TIME Magazine


Longlisted — ALA Carnegie Medal, 2022

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147 x 218 mm • 240 pages


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