Modern memoirs often deal with major difficulties in a person's life - domestic, physical, sometimes even spiritual. While Joy Harjo covers this territory, her ethereal Native voice and her personal experiences distinguish this book from a crowded field of life stories.
Harjo moves through her history in an admirably concise fashion. Memories, happy and painful, are related in spare, honest sentences; no words are wasted. Her deep love for and spiritual connection with the arts are obvious, though this book emphasizes language, story, and poetry above dance, music, and painting. It is clear that these creative pursuits and the "knowing" - her Native American subconscious connection to the spiritual/eternal - were her saviors during cycles of abuse, fear and panic.
The poet author divides her story into four sections, each one a cardinal direction. With brief,...
Beyond the Book
Chartered in 1962 under the John F. Kennedy administration, the Institute of American Indian Arts is still educating young Native American artists in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The school boasts numerous notable Native professors, faculty, staff, visiting artists, scholars and alumni, including Joy Harjo, Dan Namingha, Fritz Scholder, David Bradley, Doug Hyde, Allan Houser, Charles Loloma, Otellie Loloma, Earl Biss, T.C. Cannon, Sheldon Peters Wolfchild, Darren Vigil Gray, and Sherwin Bitsui.
According to the IAIA website, it is "the only four-year degree fine arts institution in the nation devoted to contemporary...