Have I complained about the lack of poetry options at the Southington Public Library before? Probably, but I’m not entirely surprised, as it’s a pretty small library. But it is sad.
Anyway, I went to the library and grabbed three books from their meager selection—books I probably wouldn’t have picked up if there were more options. One of which was my first completed book of the year: Joy Harjo‘s The Woman Who Fell from the Sky.
Harjo is a noted Native American poet and musician, so I was expecting the usual mix of poetry and prose, but I was not expecting the lively prose poems dominating the books—nor the short nonfiction explanations accompanying each piece. These modern, urban myths were a delightful change of pace from what I had been reading.
My favorite poem was “Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century,” which tells of Harjo’s experiences with a couple taxi drivers. One gets mugged and shot, never getting the opportunity to return to his family’s home in Nigeria. But instead of haunting the mugger, his spirit forgives him, and the mugger is overcome with grief, having killed a man who had such love for his fellow man. It’s a striking story, and as Harjo puts it, I’m sure it will “sustain me through these tough distances.”