O’siyo. Joy Harjo (a Talking Feather favorite) is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is a poet, singer, musician, and author. She has written another winner. Her new book “Crazy Brave” is a memoir describing her long and complex journey to becoming a poet. She sat down for an interview with NPR’s Neal Conan, to discuss her new book, and what led her to write it.
Excerpt: Joy Harjo’s ‘Crazy Brave’ Path To Finding Her Voice By Neal Conan, NPR
“In her new memoir, Joy Harjo recounts how her early years — a difficult childhood with an alcoholic father and abusive stepfather, and the hardships of teen motherhood — caused her to suppress her artistic gifts and nearly brought her to her breaking point. “It was the spirit of poetry,” she writes in Crazy Brave, who reached out and found me as I stood there at the doorway between panic and love.
NPR’s Neal Conan talks with Harjo, now an acclaimed poet, performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, about the dreams, visions and heartache that led her to find her voice as a
poet and musician…On how trauma in her early years acted as roadblocks to creativity: Sometimes, I think, in order to get to something that we really want or we really love or something that needs to be realized, that we’re tested. I mean, I think if you look at any stories all over the world, they are usually set up as, OK, here’s where I start, here is where I want to go, and here are the tests. And they were pretty intense tests … I failed a lot of them, or you find a way around. And maybe there is no such thing as failure … that’s kind of what I’ve had to come to. Yes, I mean, there’s times … when we fail. But it’s a useful thing.
At least I’ve had to come to that in my life, to realize that this stuff called failure, this stuff, this debris of historical trauma, family trauma, you know, stuff that can kill your spirit, is actually raw material to make things with and to build a bridge. You can use those materials to build a bridge over that which would destroy you… the book goes up to the time I start writing poetry, which was – I needed to. I needed to find my voice, I think, in order to live. And this came at that time when I turned around, and I was forced to turn around and look at the monster and see the monster. And this poem came out, almost – I usually revise.”
Read more about this fascinating woman, musician, artist, and positive role-model.
“Someone accompanies every soul from the other side when it enters this place. Usually it is an ancestor with whom that child shares traits and gifts” ~Joy Harjo~
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