In Mad Love and War

In Mad Love and War Review

Joy Harjo is a powerful voice for her Creek (Muscogee) tribe (“a stolen people in a stolen land”), for other oppressed people, and for herself. Her poems, both sacred and secular, are written with the passions of anger, grief, and love, at once tender and furious. They are rooted in the land; they are one with the deer and the fox, the hawk and the eagle, the sun, moon, and wind, and the seasons – “spring/ was lean and hungry with the hope of children and corn.” There are enemies here, also lovers; there are ghost dancers, ancestors old and new, who rise again “to walk in shoes of fire.”

Indeed, fire and its aftermath is a constant image in the burning book. Skies are “incendiary”; the “smoke of dawn” turns enemies into ashes: “I am fire eaten by wind.” “Your fire scorched/ my lips.” “I am lighting the fire that crawls from my spine/ to the gods with a coal from my sister’s flame.”

But the spirit of this book is not consumed. It is not limited by mad love or war, and “there is something larger than the memory/ of a dispossessed people.” That something larger is, for example, revolution, freedom, birth.

Title:In Mad Love and War
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Memory has many forms.When I think of early winter I think of a blackbird laughing in thefrozen air; guards a piece of light. (I saw the whole world caught in thatsound, the sun stopped for a moment ...

  • I first read this book at 19, and it totally floored me with its quietly insistent, literary lilt and its complex, easily romanticized "native" imagery. Visiting it again many years later I picked up...

  • What an excellent collection....

  • When I read Harjo's poetry for an undergraduate class, it was as if I'd found a sister. She speaks in a language I understand. That I feel deep within. Her words are like no others. Harjo speaks with ...

  • "Grace" (1) "The haunting voices of the starved and mutilated... I could say grace was a woman with time on her hands, or a white buffalo escaped from memory. But in that dingy light it was a promise ...

  • I really liked "Bird"!!...

  • I am much more into novels and short stories then poetry. So I hope it means something when I say how much I enjoyed this poetry, and how profoundly moved I felt at times. True, some of its language c...

  • because I want to make a poem that will cup                                              the inside of your throat— from Healing Animal...

  • Once again, Harjo uses imagery from her Native American roots as well as the real life stories of atrocities to challenge what we know about love and humanity. These poems will put a chill down your s...

  • I love this book. Muskogee blues/jazz, which makes sense given Harjo's alternate path as a terrific saxophonist/composer/bandleader. She looks pain directly in the face, doesn't flinch and doesn't dim...