• An American Sunrise

  • Poems
  • By: Joy Harjo
  • Narrated by: Joy Harjo
  • Length: 1 hr and 41 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (561 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land.

In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. A descendent of storytellers and “one of our finest - and most complicated - poets” (Los Angeles Review of Books), Joy Harjo continues her legacy with this latest powerful collection.

©2019 Joy Harjo (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

Featured Article: The Best Poetry Audiobooks to Listen to for National Poetry Month


It’s a common turn of phrase that poetry is meant to be heard. Tone, pauses, cadence, and vocal inflections all serve to further the emotional pull of modern and historical poetic masterpieces. In audio, poems can be heard and enjoyed just as the poet meant them to be. Taking into account not only the words themselves but the way they are spoken, our list provides a look at the power behind a poem, celebrating those works which have touched our souls.

What listeners say about An American Sunrise

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Earth moving

Absolutely stunning to hear in Harjo’s own voice. It’s like being at an actual poetry reading, there in the rooms of her poems. Her writing is unmatched in its compelling imagery, it’s honesty and vulnerability, it’s story of family, Native American tradition, pain, and glories. The way she crafts each line, the language just opens you up and softens you. Going to listen again.

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Powerful poetry

This powerful collection of poetry is beautifully read by the author. US Poet Laureate revisits her peoples native land, exploring their rich history and connection to the land, the terrible horror of colonialism and displacement and the beauty and grace of reconnection, weaving in music and more personal experiences of loss, love and hope.

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I expected to struggle...

A poetry format left me concerned I would not connect, but my curiosity around the poet laureate was stronger. I’m glad I listened. These readings were more like miniature paintings that wove a story of a life lived whether by an individual or a group, whether young or old, past or present, mystery or history. Wonderful to say the least.

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A Must Listen

Mesmerizing, hypnotic, profound, necessary. Unites ancestries of the heart with today’s real world and makes meaning of living in our histories.

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Poetry & Stories from the Trail of Tears

Joy Harjo, America’s Poet Laureate, brings her Artist’s Eye and Ear to the Sad History of her people through song, poem, story and interviews.

I am always moved by the connection of Indigenous People to the Earth and Sky they possess so closely. Through Harjo’s words we feel their Souls and the Nature they know so well. Her stories of the Trail of Tears bring the Warriors, Chiefs, Children and Elders to life, not as characters in dry History but as feeling, suffering Human Beings.

It is a Tale we need to hear and really listen to. There are migrants today at our Borders who know these stories well. #SAD!

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Joy Harjo's voice took my breath away

Listening to American Sunrise was an amazing experience. The poetry is heartfelt and insightful. The song brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Ms. Harjo.

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fantastic

this was so very good. beautiful and eloquent. a wonderful poet and artist. thank you

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simply brilliant

I loved it. Joy Harjo brings a realism to the indigenous experience that has to be heard to understand.
Enjoy.

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Beautiful. Lyrical. Walking back in Time

The reading starts with a very sad tale how native Americans were forced out of their homes, displaced and moved to reservations. she segues into family history, family lores of survival and determination. The poems are moving, fierce, and telling. Each one creating a record, a memory worth retelling and preserving. mesmerizing...

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Must read

Stop what you are doing and listen to this book. Read and sung by the author. Fantastic poetry that lingers with you afterwards.

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  • tamara
  • 07-25-22

Everything Harjo touches with is pure gold

Her work really cements the link between the higher and lower worlds. Each poem has a consciousness and each consciousness is a song.