In Crazy Brave, Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation, writes, “I believe that if you do not answer the noise and urgency of your gifts, they will turn on you. Or drag you down with their immense sadness at being abandoned.” The 65 pieces in this anthology are answers to the noise and urgency of these writers’ and artists’ gifts. Representing burgeoning and established writers and artists alike, this e-book creates a conversation with Joy Harjo’s immense body of work and another community-based conversation that will continue well after its release.
As we read these pieces, we noticed themes begin to emerge. Above all was love: love of culture; love of land, of water, of plant, and animal; love of connection; love of those who we will join again “in one blink of star time.” What a wonderful and fitting theme to be at the forefront of this anthology, which celebrates the work of such a beloved poet and performer.
The Bringing Joy project began when a visit from Harjo to Northern Minnesota was in the nascent planning stages pre-pandemic. This e-book anthology was conceptualized by the Bringing Joy Committee as a way to boost community involvement with her visit and engagement with her work. Due to the pandemic, Harjo’s visit was postponed for over a year. We were thrilled when it was ultimately rescheduled as a virtual event at which many attendees could safely be accommodated. We hope you enjoy reading this anthology. We are honored to have had a part in commemorating Joy Harjo’s 2021 virtual visit to the Northland, her place as the first Indigenous United States Poet Laureate, and her third term holding that office.