The first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology, without which no study of American poetry is complete.
United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gathers the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into one momentous volume. This landmark anthology celebrates the indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries.
Opening with a blessing from Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday, the book contains powerful introductions from contributing editors who represent the five geographically organised sections. Each section begins with a poem from the massive libraries of oral literatures and closes with emerging poets, ranging from Eleazar, a seventeenth-century Native student at Harvard, to Jake Skeets, a young Dinéh poet born in 1991, and including renowned writers such as Natalie Diaz, Tommy Pico, Layli Long Soldier and Ray Young Bear. In When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, Harjo offers the extraordinary sweep of Native literature.
"When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through is nothing less than a landmark anthology of Native Nations Poetry... The poets in this anthology are artists, historians, and keepers of the truths of their heritage, their people, and their lands. These poems are testament to their personal journeys and this collection is transcendent in its authority and eternal power." — Lew Whittington, New York Journal of Books
"...When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry... give[s] a sense of the depth of marginalised voices." — Paul Perry, The Best Books of 2020: Poetry, The Irish Independent
Winner — Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reading the West Book Award, 2021