Crazy Brave: A Memoir

Crazy Brave: A Memoir

3.8 5
by Joy Harjo
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle, poet/performer Harjo writes verse suffused with spiritual concern, sociopolitical hunger, and evidence of her Muskogee Creek heritage. This memoir returns to her youth (abusive stepfather, Indian arts boarding school, single motherhood as a teenager) to disclose how she became a poet. Expect beautiful writing, and look how popular Leslie Marmon Silko's The Turquoise Ledge was.
Kirkus Reviews
A lyrical, soul-stirring memoir about how an acclaimed Native American poet and musician came to embrace "the spirit of poetry." For Harjo, life did not begin at birth. She came into the world as an already-living spirit with the goal to release "the voices, songs, and stories" she carried with her from the "ancestor realm." On Earth, she was the daughter of a half-Cherokee mother and a Creek father who made their home in Tulsa, Okla. Her father's alcoholism and volcanic temper eventually drove Harjo's mother and her children out of the family home. At first, the man who became the author's stepfather "sang songs and smiled with his eyes," but he soon revealed himself to be abusive and controlling. Harjo's primary way of escaping "the darkness that plagued the house and our family" was through drawing and music, two interests that allowed her to leave Oklahoma and pursue her high school education at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Interaction with her classmates enlightened her to the fact that modern Native American culture and history had been shaped by "colonization and dehumanization." An education and raised consciousness, however, did not spare Harjo from the hardships of teen pregnancy, poverty and a failed first marriage, but hard work and luck gained her admittance to the University of New Mexico, where she met a man whose "poetry opened one of the doors in my heart that had been closed since childhood." But his hard-drinking ways wrecked their marriage and nearly destroyed Harjo. Faced with the choice of submitting to despair or becoming "crazy brave," she found the courage to reclaim a lost spirituality as well as the "intricate and metaphorical language of my ancestors." A unique, incandescent memoir.
Ms.
“Stirring. . . . In her harrowing and ultimately hopeful story, Harjo allows the reader to know her intimately, and we are enriched by her honesty.”
Boston Globe
A saga about the survival of spirituality and creativity in the face of generations of racism, dispossession, and familial dysfunction.— Rebecca Steinitz
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
A must-read for her fans and a fascinating door into her world for those new to her work.”— Elizabeth Wilkinson
Booklist
“Harjo allows the reader to know her intimately, and we are enriched by her honesty.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
A must-read for her fans and a fascinating door into her world for those new to her work.— Elizabeth Wilkinson
Rebecca Steinitz - Boston Globe
“A saga about the survival of spirituality and creativity in the face of generations of racism, dispossession, and familial dysfunction.”
Elizabeth Wilkinson - Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A must-read for her fans and a fascinating door into her world for those new to her work.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393073461
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/09/2012
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
773,217
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Joy Harjo is an internationally known performer and writer of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She has written seven books of poetry, including She Had Some Horses and How We Became Human, and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Crazy Brave: A Memoir 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting in the beginning, however, I felt let-down toward the end. She seemed to be telling her story but at times it seemed to be without the feeling one deeply feels when really hurt inside.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sunny r the doing the game tommorow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The hunger games then yes if not i dont no way u mean