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Joy Harjo is an internationally known performer and writer of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, the author of ten books of poetry and, most recently, a memoir, Crazy Brave. A critically acclaimed poet, her many honours include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In June 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate.

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings

W. W. Norton & Company
2016 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

Joy Harjo has been a crucial figure in American letters for decades, and her latest collection, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, presents her at the height of her powers.

Joy Harjo has been a crucial figure in American letters for decades, and her latest collection, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, presents her at the height of her powers. Intermingling Mvskoke storytelling, rock-and-roll lyrics, cityscapes and personal address, Harjo’s poems are at once sweeping in their concerns and intimate in their tone and approach. Harjo’s is a poetics that is not afraid to speak directly when the moment warrants, nor to refer to traditions – literary traditions, folk traditions, musical traditions – with effortless erudition. Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings is a book of transitions and transformations, inhabiting liminal spaces like hotel rooms and deteriorating natural landscapes. The poems urge engagement, but they also encourage a wider perspective, because for Harjo even ‘the edge between life and death is thinner than a dried animal bladder.’ In the midst of profound change both personal and global, these poems offer guidance and empathy, ceremony and admonishment, wisdom, comfort and song.