The first Native American poet has been named U.S. Poet Laureate: Joy Harjo. She is a writer and a musician and a member of the Muskogee Creek Nation, I just learned here: NPR piece.
Let’s all order a volume of her work from our local bookstore!
In the meantime, we say farewell to Tracy K. Smith.
Here’s one of the poems from Smith’s Pulitzer-prize winning, “Life on Mars.” I really like how she combines the most ordinary observations with the big questions.
The Universe as Primal Scream
Tracy K. Smith
5 pm on the nose. They open their mouths
And it rolls out: high, shrill and metallic.
First the boy, then his sister. Occasionally,
They both let loose at once, and I think
Of putting on my shoes to go up and see
Whether it is merely an experiment
Their parents have been conducting
Upon the good crystal, which must surely
Lie shattered to dust on the floor.
Maybe the other is still proud
Of the four pink lungs she nursed
To such might. Perhaps, if they hit
The magic decibel, the whole building
Will lift-off, and we’ll ride to glory
Like Elijah. If this is it – if this is what
Their cries are cocked toward – let the sky
Pass from blue, to red, to molten gold,
To black. Let the heaven we inherit approach.
Whether it is our dead in Old Testament robes,
Or a door opening onto the roiling infinity of space.
Whether it will bend down to greet us like a father,
Or swallow us like a furnace. I’m ready
To meet what refuses to let us keep anything
For long. What teases us with blessings,
Bends us with grief. Wizard, thief, the great
Wind rushing to knock our mirrors to the floor,
To sweep our short lives clean. How mean
Our racket seems beside it. My stereo on shuffle.
The neighbor chopping onions through a wall.
All of it just a hiccough against what may never
Come for us. And the kids upstairs still at it,
Screaming like the Dawn of Man, as if something
They have no name for has begun to insist
Upon being born.
loved reading Joy Harjo’s beautiful poem ‘Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit’ hidden in the photos of Terri Windling’s post today, here’s the link-
Well I need to read Terri Windling’s blog more regularly. She is so tuned in to earth magic and the impulse and expression is not just a necessary one, but in her hands a Celtic one, which I need for other reasons.
But I couldn’t find the link to Joy Harjo’s poem.
the text of the poem is hidden in each photograph just hover your mouse over the photos one at a time to read
Doesn’t work with phone. Will try on PC later
Heard her being interviewed on MPR yesterday .. her voice in itself is poetry.
Joy is a true joy 🙂
Love the photo in the newspaper clip. Yes, this is a cause for happiness.
We all have burdens — some we can set down, others not. This grief allows many opportunities to set emotions down and that’s cause, maybe for happiness, but definitely a sense of space and relief.