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When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry Paperback – August 25, 2020
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Selected as one of Oprah Winfrey's "Books That Help Me Through"
United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gathers the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology.
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 organized sections. Each section begins with a poem from traditional oral literatures and closes with emerging poets, ranging from Eleazar, a seventeenth-century Native student at Harvard, to Jake Skeets, a young Diné poet born in 1991, and including renowned writers such as Luci Tapahanso, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier, and Ray Young Bear. When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through offers the extraordinary sweep of Native literature, without which no study of American poetry is complete.
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― Arthur Sze, National Book Award–winning author of Sight Lines
About the Author
LeAnne Howe is the author, most recently, of Savage Conversations. She teaches at the University of Georgia – Athens.
Jennifer Elise Foerster is the author of Bright Raft in the Afterweather. She lives in California.
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition (August 25, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 496 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393356809
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393356809
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #35,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3 in Native American Poetry (Books)
- #19 in Poetry Anthologies (Books)
- #40 in Literary Criticism & Theory
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2022
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Yes, you'll love the book for the browse alone. But if you really want to go into these poets' and their voice of place, it helps to have two works at your elbows, both edited by the indefatigable Anton Treuer, "Indian Nations of North America" and "Atlas of Indian Nations" (both National Geographic).
Odds and ends. Miss Harjo annotates brief bios of each poet, including nation, tribe and place. There's much to rejoice in. My only complaint is that there is no hardcover edition - but then, this is America, softcover makes the work available to the masses. Go, buy.
This is a giant anthology of native nations poetry. On a personal note, I thought it would take me all year to read - both because of its size and because I’m new to poetry and it sometimes takes me awhile to read and process. This was so engaging and the range of poetry was vast and intriguing, it kept pulling me in. I love the bio for each poet. I also enjoyed the information but the editors for each area section, as well as in the intro and outro.
I felt like there were a lot or similar themes, as if a thread was weaving them all together. It bridges two centuries, and within each generation there is a similarity in topic and style I was expecting.
Highly recommend this book for everyone, especially those who live in “America”. It’s an investment for sure but worth your time.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 7, 2022
If you enjoy modern poetry, if you are interested in indigenous peoples issues, if you've got a Native American friend who tells a great story.., pick up this amazing Norton anthology. Wish this existed 20 years ago when I was a lit major in school. First Nations poets speak beauty, truth, heartbreak, grief, hope, and hopelessness, this work is powerful and inspirational.