Catching the Light

Yale Univ. (Why I Write). Oct. 2022. 128p. ISBN 9780300257038. $18. LIT
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Harjo (Poet Warrior) presents 50 vignettes on the “why” of writing poetry and song, which she aptly describes as a means of “catching light in the dark.” Harjo explains how she began creating poetry because she needed a language that was beyond ordinary and found it by linking her native culture with the power of education. As a single mother in 1967, she relied on the fellowship and kindness of friends and community to support her dreams of writing while she raised two children. Harjo considers every poem love poetry with a beat because the words begin and end with rhythm. Whether the poet is writing about keeping the porch light on or an old rundown car, there is rhythm and beat. Harjo encourages listening to the music of cultures and tells how she discovered her roots (the Tulsa-born poet is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Nation). Through these 50 entries, readers will see how a poet grows and develops, both as a singular individual and a member of a society.
VERDICT This highly recommended book is a comforting island for writers who enjoy reading about how authors succeed.
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