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Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings

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A musical, magical, resilient volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States.

In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human. Beginning in a hotel room in the dark of a distant city, we travel through history and follow the memory of the Trail of Tears from the bend in the Tallapoosa River to a place near the Arkansas River. Stomp dance songs, blues, and jazz ballads echo throughout. Lost ancestors are recalled. Resilient songs are born, even as they grieve the loss of their country. Called a "magician and a master" (San Francisco Chronicle), Joy Harjo is at the top of her form in Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.

Finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize

ISBN-13: 9780393353631

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Norton W. W. & Company Inc.

Publication Date: 01-24-2017

Pages: 160

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)

Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections and two memoirs, most recently Poet Warrior. The recipient of the 2023 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Part 1 How It Came to Be 1

"I lay my body down…" 3

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet 4

"For any spark to make a song…" 7

Rabbit Is Up to Tricks 8

"Listened to an alto sax player…" 10

No 11

"Humans were created by mistake…" 13

Once the World Was Perfect 14

"When I woke upfront a forty-year sleep…" 16

Cricket Song 17

"After years you realize…" 18

Entering the Principality of O'ahu by Sky Roads 19

"Each human is a complex, contradictory story…" 20

We Were There When Jazz Was Invented 21

"This is only one of many worlds…" 24

Reality Show 25

"When I blow my horn…" 27

Beautiful Baby, Beautiful Child 28

Part 2 The Wanderer 29

Talking with the Sun 31

"'One way to look at it,' he told me…" 33

Spirit Walking in the Tundra 34

"Where we lived, the settlers built their houses…" 36

Mother Field 37

"Let's not shame our eyes…" 39

Walk 40

"Midnight is a horn player…" 41

Charlie and the Baby 42

"When I walk over to join you in the two-step…" 44

Had-It-Up-to-Here Round Dance 45

'"Through these doors walk some of the finest…'" 49

One Day There Will Be Horses 50

"When I returned to my ancestral grounds…" 52

Goin' Home 53

"OurMvskoke new year is inherently…" 55

The First Day Without a Mother 56

Part 3 Visions and Monsters 57

Falling, Falling 59

"Imagine if we natives went to the cemeteries…" 61

In Mystic 62

"This is the kitchen table university…" 64

Listening to Blues in a Fish Joint, Downtown Denver 65

"I would do anything for you, baby…" 66

Indian School Night Song Blues 67

"Do not feed the monsters…" 70

Suicide Watch 71

"We all have helpers…" 74

This Morning I Pray for My Enemies 75

"Ah, but what about being…" 76

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings 77

"The first horn I played…" 85

Forever 86

"And then I argued with myself…" 88

I Am Not Ready to Die Yet 89

"Whenever a saxophone begins…" 91

Report from the Edge of a Terrible Regime 92

"In one house lives the sun…" 93

From DFW Airport at Dawn 94

"What kept me going was that perfect song…" 95

The Last World of Fire and Trash 96

Part 4 The World 99

You Can Change the Story, My Spirit Said to Me as I Sat Near the Sea 101

"Those who could see into the future predicted the storm…" 105

Sunrise Healing Song 106

"I knew there was no way…" 107

It's Raining in Honolulu 108

"The day went on as it always had…" 110

Praise the Rain 111

"Time is a being, like you, like me…" 112

Rushing the Pali 113

"I thought of all the doors…" 115

Surfing Canoes 116

"I returned to the city of country swing…" 117

Speaking Tree 118

"I heard a raven cry the blues…" 120

Everybody Has a Heartache 121

"Everyone comes into the world…" 126

For a Girl Becoming 127

"I keep thinking of my boyfriend…" 132

Fall Song 133

"My friend Sarita went visiting…" 134

For Keeps 135

"I confided in him the longing…" 136

Equinox 137

'"What are you doing there, soul…"' 138

Sunrise 139