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When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through Edited by Joy Harjo & Contributors

The Indigenous literary voice is vast and powerful, and there are no better caretakers for an anthology of Native Nations poetry than Harjo, Howe, Foerster and the numerous other editors and advisors who participated in this monumental publication. When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through collects pieces of poetic tradition (oral and written) from both established and contemporary Indigenous voices, creating an immeasurably beautiful and profound experience.

The anthology is organized by geographical region; voices from 160 different poets represent nearly 100 Indigenous nations from the Northeast to the Southwest to Alaska and the Pacific Islands. There is a brief biography of each contributor preceding their works, establishing a uniquely personal author-reader connection. Additionally, each region is prefaced with a brief history, providing context for the words and sentiments that follow.

Before turning to any of the content, take the time to read both Harjo’s reverent, insightful and educational introduction as well as N. Scott Momaday’s lyrical blessing, ‘Prayer for Words’. It is the reader’s task to be as knowledgeable and respectful as possible concerning Indigenous words and traditions.

This is the first anthology of it’s kind, and hopefully there will be many more in the years to come. Thank you to the editors, advisors and contributors for sharing your words and wisdom with us.

Review by Joel

$19.95 Trade Paperback

Copies signed by Joy Harjo & Luci Tapahanso available

When the Light of the World Was Subdued is in stock at the bookstore, you can order it online or call us at (505) 988-4226.

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