... 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.
Harjo lyrically describes her upbringing in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Southeastern Oklahoma through stories about her ancestors, family, and community elders ... At its best, Poet Warrior elucidates the hidden meaning behind everyday events ... Harjo poignantly describes growing up in poverty with a mother who had only an eighth-grade education and a father who drank heavily. Nevertheless, she reflects on the wisdom she has received from each of them. She effectively ties her own family story to the larger story of her people—particularly the theft of their ancestral land ... Poet Warrior cuts rapidly between vignettes, some of which might benefit from further dramatization and dialogu ... Harjo’s honest and straightforward tone lends the book a refreshing casualness. A tale of spirituality and regeneration in the face of darkness, dispossession, and family dysfunction, Poet Warrior is recommended not only for Harjo fans wishing for an inside view into her life and influences, but for anyone interested in a heartfelt and enduring memoir that weaves together poetry, song, and prose.