Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019, is the author of eight poetry collections, including the national bestseller An American Sunrise, and a memoir, Crazy Brave. LeAnne Howe is the author, most recently, of Savage Conversations. Jennifer Elise Foerster is the author of Bright Raft in the Afterweather. Edited by Joy Harjo, When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through (W. W. Norton & Company) collects the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology. This landmark anthology celebrates the indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries. The book contains powerful introductions from contributing editors who represent the five geographically organized sections. Each section begins with a poem from traditional oral literatures and closes with emerging poets, ranging from Eleazar, a seventeenth-century Native student at Harvard, to Jake Skeets, a young Diné poet born in 1991, and including renowned writers such as Luci Tapahanso, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier, and Ray Young Bear.
Arthur Sze, National Book Award–winning author of Sight Lines, called this anthology “revelatory and stunning.… It shows the remarkable strength and diversity of Native poetry, which vitalizes all of American poetry. It is essential reading.”