Monday, July 23, 2012

Lynn says that reading this book "can feel like picking up long-dormant or overlooked dimensions in one's own personal stories/myths/dreaming."

A spiritual coming-of-age memoir from a poet praised for her "breathtaking complex witness and world-remaking language" (Adrienne Rich).

In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo, one of our leading Native American voices, 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. She attended an Indian arts boarding school, where she nourished an appreciation for painting, music, and poetry; gave birth while still a teenager; and struggled on her own as a single mother, eventually finding her poetic voice. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice. Harjo’s tale of a hardscrabble youth, young adulthood, and transformation into an award-winning poet and musician is haunting, unique, and visionary.

Listen the the NPR interview with the author HERE.

Lynn says:
"Within the first few pages (if not sentences!) I was already remarking to myself how lucky I felt to have picked up this book.  Vaguely familiar with Harjo's band, Poetic Justice, and some of her poetry ('The Woman Who Fell From the Sky'), I opened Crazy Brave, curious what sort of jazz-inspired, Mvskoke/Creek memoir she'd produced, and was instantly transported into a world of smells, sounds, sights, and cosmological musings of infant-mind becoming child-mind, then adolescent-mind, then adult-mind, each stage evoking a primal, magical sort of time-transcendent mythic reality I hadn't felt quite so in touch with since my own childhood... Seriously. But playfully too.  And to use the word 'mind' here is wholly incomplete, as the mind and heart and even the soul of the very planet are all so intertwined in this story.  Not so surprising, considering her gifts as a poet/artist/musician... and retroactively informative of how and why it makes so much sense that her language/art/music-as-healing story trajectory put her on that kind of writer's path.  There are four segments to her story; East, North, West and South... and each one is contextualized within a (roughly) chronological chunk of the author's life.  Like poetry, painting and jazz can sometimes do, putting the book down between chapters and taking a walk can open the eyes and ears to added dimensions to which normal habituation to 'real life' may have dulled one's sensitivity... and picking it up again can feel like picking up long-dormant or overlooked dimensions in one's own personal stories/myths/dreaming.  Really. It's just that sort of book."

Meet the author tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, at 7:30 at our Colfax Avenue store. Free and open to the public.

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