NEA Big Read
How We Became Human

How We Became Human

by Joy Harjo

We were never perfect.
Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth who was
once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.


Joy Harjo (photo: Melissa Lukenbaugh)

Writer and musician Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Her many awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets; the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award; and two National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowships. How We Became Human (W.W. Norton, 2002) offers an introduction to her poetry over the first 26 years of her career, including poems from her groundbreaking book She Had Some Horses (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1983). "To read the poetry of Joy Harjo is to hear the voice of the earth, to see the landscape of time and timelessness, and, most important, to get a glimpse of people who struggle to understand, to know themselves, and to survive" (Poetry Foundation). Says author Sandra Cisneros, "Her hero's journey is a gift for all those struggling to make their way." "Joy Harjo is a giant-hearted, gorgeous, and glorious gift to the world," says author Pam Houston. "Her belief in art, in spirit, is so powerful, it can't help but spill over to us—lucky readers."

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