The magical and the mystical both figure heavily in Crazy Brave: A Memoir, but it’s all part of being Joy Harjo, says the Native American poet, playwright, musician and performer. “My life didn’t make neat short stories,” Harjo explains on her blog. “David Sedaris can do it, make tight, crafted vignettes with a biting and perceptive humor. And as much as I love humor (I’ve watched most of the comedy acts on Netflix), my writing voice veers toward the earthy mystical. In the past I tried to lure the spirit of my voice (writing, saxophone, speaking, singing) to a more pop style. It refuses. It has a dignity all its own, and it is constructed of a web of time and memory beyond this right now human mind.” Clearly, the poet runs wild in Harjo, and that’s what makes her one of our purest American voices.
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True to her Muskogee (or Myskoke) roots, Harjo divides the book into the traditional four directions of the medicine wheel from Native American lore; interspersed throughout a non-linear story — one that segues from pre-birth to boarding school to stories of Harjo’s ancestors to the Indian-rights movement and her eventual salvation as an artist — are poems that act as her inner voice and oracle.
Meet Harjo and learn more about her transformative journey in life tonight at 7:30 p.m. when she signs Crazy Brave at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Go to www.tatteredcover.com or call 303-322-7727.
Tue., July 24, 7:30 p.m., 2012