... a wonderful hybrid text that mixes memoir, poetry, songs, and dreams into something unique that opens a window into the most important events of Harjo's life and invites readers to reconnect with themselves — as well as with the land and the knowledge of their people ... This is a book about pain and growth; a narrative that shines a light on compassion and stresses the importance of rituals ... Harjo's writing highlights the things that matter most to her, so time passes quickly, dreams and magic play a huge role in the narrative, and the details of how she graduated college, became a professor, her many publications, becoming the first Native American Poet Laureate of the Unites States — and for three terms — and even receiving a National Endowment for the Arts grant barely get mentioned. Instead, Harjo tackles spiritual growth, healing, and how love is unbreakable. The simplicity with which Harjo writes about deep things makes this a beautiful book. It also makes it the kind of memoir that is a work of art and a guide to life for those willing to listen ... a celebration of art ... Some stories are extremely intimate...However, other stories feel communal ... Joy Harjo is more than a poet, painter, and musician; she is a spiritual being aware of the meaning of everything we see as well as the things around us that are usually invisible. And Poet Warrior is an invitation to open our eyes and see it all with her.
... lyricism and compassion ... Continually eliding the material and the ethereal, the political and the mystical, the poetry of words and the poetry of action, Harjo ends this iteration of her life story with a journey down the Amazon, a sighting of pink dolphins, and in the final pages, her mother's death. If her many fans could have their way, this will not be the last we hear of these things.
Like her first, Crazy Brave, Poet Warrior is a memoir about becoming. But whereas Crazy Brave is a coming-of-age story, this new book describes Harjo’s coming into herself as a poet, or as she puts it, the journey from ‘Girl Warrior’ to ‘Poet Warrior’ ... the truer journey is Harjo’s internal one, recounted in poetry woven throughout. Always in third person, the poetry is richly informed by the Old Ones and by intuition ... In some ways, Poet Warrior revisits material covered in Crazy Brave but with greater attention to her journey with words ... Poet Warrior is a wise book and an inviting one. While some writers might fetishize otherworldly experiences as mystical, it’s their ordinariness in Harjo’s memoir that drew me in. They gave her strength to follow words.