Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings

Norton. Sept. 2015. 144p. ISBN 9780393248500. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393248517. POETRY
OrangeReviewStarIn her first volume of poetry in more than ten years, Harjo (Crazy Brave), a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, travels the Trail of Tears, moving from a bend in the Tallapoosa River to the banks of the Arkansas. The poems, typically juxtaposed against short, jazzy prose introductions, are often narrative and as often songs with repeated refrains, even litanies—hardly surprising, as Harjo is a performer as well as a poet. In each poem, there is music that riffs and sings and sometimes drums, as well as a sense of community and connection: "To understand each/ other is profound beyond human words.// This is what I am singing." Yet while the volume is imbued with story and song, tales and invocations, and myth, chants and epistles, at its heart is ceremony, the need to create and re-create, to bless and restore. Ceremony elevates and expiates experience, and in many ways these poems are rituals of becoming, allowing us to heal, to become better, to become again: "Every poem is an effort at ceremony./I ask for a way in."
VERDICT A poignant collection that will draw in a range of readers; appropriate for many libraries. [See Prepub Alert, 6/14/15.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing