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She Had Some Horses

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  822 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
In this powerful collection of poetry, Creek Indian Joy Harjo explores womanhood's most intimate moments. Professor, poetry award winner, performer, and former member of the National Council on the Arts, Harjo’s prose speaks of women's despair, of their imprisonment and ruin at the hands of men and society, but also of their awakenings, power, and love.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 30th 2005 by Seal Press (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,487)
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Jan 07, 2009 Josette rated it really liked it
This is a classic, of course, and very influential in helping me write my first collection. I recently taught this book at the Tohono O'odham Nation and the distracted or stoic students snapped to attention when I began to read the title poem. Who wouldn't? The tenor of their poems (they're writing to submit to a collection of native poems) was very similar in content and image. It was lovely to read something to them that struck a chord.
May 07, 2012 Punk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Poetry. I first read this in college, at the behest of the grad student who taught a four-hour creative writing class I was taking; I didn't like her. She was always after me to "revise" my poems more, but after weeks of hearing this frustrating, and vague, critique, I came to the conclusion that what she actually wanted was for me to write an entirely different poem with the same subject. So one week, I did that and it finally seemed to be the correct amount of revision for her.

This was one of
Jul 05, 2014 Natalie rated it really liked it
I have no business reading poetry that goes beyond Shel Silverstein because I have a hard time "getting it." When I would read it to myself, it was like reading a foreign language. Words that went in one ear and out the other for the most part - read but not truly comprehended. I assure you that this is no fault of Joy Harjo's. I am just an amateur.

I can only tell you how beautiful the poems were when I began walking around my house and reading them out loud. I can only gush about the word choi
Dec 21, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that conveys great meaning in simple, eloquent language. These poems have a compelling, cryptic quality to them that even I found obscure after many years of reading Native American literature. The strength of the speakers, the subjects of these poems, is moving, and the poems, which sometimes feel stripped down to the barest essentials, get as close to raw truth as I've seen in a while.
This is by far the best entire book of poetry I have read. There is a sense of conncection in each poem, and the rhythm of the heart drums throughout. If you're not familiar with her, take some time to get to know Joy Harjo. This is an amazing piece of work.
Peter Kerry Powers
May 24, 2015 Peter Kerry Powers rated it liked it
I heard Harjo do a reading from this book shortly after it was published in 1983, while I was completing my MFA at the U of Montana. She was a poet in residence and happened to be living with the family of a woman I was dating at the time. I would like to report we had long and intense conversations about poetry and fiction, but mostly I remember her seeming beleaguered and tired and distant, and me feeling intimidated and uninformed. I've had the book for 30 years and finally finished it this M ...more
Apr 11, 2008 Timothy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Timothy by: Greg
Beautiful and devastating. This book blew through me.
Apr 02, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Joy Harjo is a Native American poet from Tulsa, OK who has won many awards for her poems.

My friend loaned me this book, and this is her favorite poem of Harjo's, and I really liked it myself.


Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, h
Apr 17, 2016 Demetra rated it liked it
I am as a rule not a person who enjoys poetry, but I read this as a sample of her work since I am going to hear her speak in the near future.
A couple of the poems were extremely moving and contained lines that were incredibly powerful.
Some of the others did not draw me in at all. All in all, worth reading for the two poems "Remember" and "I Give You Back" in particular.
Jul 11, 2014 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Other than the title poem, very few poems in this collection grabbed me. I really did like "The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window." Since Harjo is sort of an Oklahoma poet, I had fun reading this collection regardless.
Favourites: Rain, Backwards, The Woman Hanging, White Bear, Skeleton of Winter, Untitled, Late Summer Leaving, Ice Horses, I Give You Back.... it's a beautiful and devastating collection tbh.
Maria Catherino
Mar 30, 2013 Maria Catherino rated it liked it
The verse itself warrants five stars.

However, later editions appear to have been edited for content. All lines involving the word “rape” were omitted. For instance in “Fear Poem” the original line reads “I give you back to the white soldiers, who burned down my home, beheaded my children, raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters.” In later versions “raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters” is omitted. It’s seen again in the titular poem “She Had Some Horses.” I don’t know why they cut tha
Lisha Adela
Dec 21, 2008 Lisha Adela rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
There were some incredible moments in this book that surpassed my occasional irritation at the disregard for line breaks that made sense. The metaphor of horses all the way through was skillful. "Remember the dance language is, life is." This quote sums up the book. There are love poems and poems about alcohol and yes, horses. The poem, She Had Some Horses, had a rhythm that displaced you next to a campfire with drums and the night sky. I did not like the poor quality of recycled newsprint paper ...more
John Badley
Feb 24, 2016 John Badley rated it it was amazing
Oldie but a goodie as my cowboy dad says. Best poetry I expect to encounter this year. Can't wait to read her most recent collection.
Karlie Ybarra
Jan 14, 2016 Karlie Ybarra rated it really liked it
Although the abundance of birth imagery was a bit disconcerting, I loved this book. The use of language was moving.
Mar 21, 2008 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very impressed with this collection. Except for a couple poems in the book's second section (which seemed almost like the same poem), each poem was innovative, thought-provoking, and insightful. The feminist tone appealed to me most, as I think it can be applied to women even if they are not Native American. I still probably prefer In Mad Love and And War, though, if because it gave me my first exposure to Harjo's work, but She Had Some Horses is worthwhile for those who not only enjoy poe ...more
Doris Raines
Mar 30, 2016 Doris Raines rated it really liked it
This. Is. A. Excellence. Book. I. Love. To. Own. Thanks. Harjo.
Dec 07, 2015 Pat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Simply one of the best books of poetry ever written.
Jun 19, 2015 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poems
Many, many miraculous & devastating moments. But there were poems that only simmered, thus the weaker overall rating. A fascinating & moving exploration of fear & hope & strength.

There is this edge where shadows
and bones of some of us walk
Talk backwards. There is this edge
call it an ocean of fear in the dark. Or
name it with other songs. Under our ribs
our hearts are bloody stars. Shine on
shine on, and horses in their galloping flight
strike the curve of ribs.
Sophia Nuñez
Jan 20, 2016 Sophia Nuñez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, beautiful, own
These poems cut deep, beautifully.
R.K. Cowles
Oct 03, 2015 R.K. Cowles rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars
Aug 21, 2014 h rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2014
Jul 04, 2014 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful collection of poems. Loved it!
Feb 14, 2008 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: western
i read this book as an assignment for a class. I had trouble getting into it. The only way I could eventually comment on it was to compare it with another book that I like a lot, Carmac McCarthy's "All the Pretty Horses." Both are books of the American West. Both use horses as metaphors for overcoming fear....etc. Eventually, through this method I did find something of value in the book. But I still can't bring myself to give it more than one star.
Mar 16, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing
the last poem sums up the power of this Native American woman who is not afraid of not being afraid.

"I take myself back, fear./You are not my shadow any longer./
I won't hold you in my hands./You can't live in my heart my heart/ my heart my heart/

But come here, fear/ I am alive and you are so afraid/

of dying."
Jan 20, 2014 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed-poetry
Glad to have read it entirely; found a few pieces to love besides the ones I already knew.
Jan 25, 2015 Helen rated it it was amazing
A collection of poems on feminism, Native Americans, and sometimes both. The poem The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window will resonate with all women, and haunt everyone who reads it. Good stuff, well written, and powerful.
Jan 17, 2008 Erik rated it it was ok
This book was kind of misleading. She really had a lot of horses, not just some. My problem is that I like horses some but not a lot, so I guess I was a little overwhelmed. Nice story though.
Christina Cooke
love her politics, couldn't fully decipher or connect with her poems (which may be part of her intent, since I'm not first nations).
Oct 06, 2011 Aran rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Not my jam but I do like the energy and the imagery in some of the poems. And poems about New Mexico.
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Bio Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. She has released four award-winning CD's of original music and won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year. She performs nationally and internationally solo and with her band, The Arrow Dynamics. She has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, in venues in every major U.S. city and
More about Joy Harjo...

Share This Book

“Alive. This music rocks
me. I drive the interstate,
watch faces come and go on either
side. I am free to be sung to;
I am free to sing. This woman
can cross any line.”
More quotes…