Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry” as Want to Read:
When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry

by
4.50  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  26 reviews
United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gathers the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology.

This landmark anthology celebrates the indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries. Opening with a blessing fro
...more
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published August 25th 2020 by W. W. Norton & Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  159 ratings  ·  26 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry
Diane S ☔
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nfr-2020
I bought this a few weeks ago as a Christmas gift for my poetry loving daughter. I started looking at a few of the poems and just kept reading, so it's a gift served twice. I fell in love with the title, it's so full of hope. I also loved that I finished it on the same day that the incoming Biden administration named Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior. Can't think of a better person to head this Department than this Native American woman. Brilliant pick imo.

Each of these poems in the antho
...more
Cheryl
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The United States is a very young country and has been in existence for only a few hundred years. Indigenous peoples have been here for thousands upon thousands of years and we are still here.Like the Mahabharata of the Hindu religion or the Iliad of ancient Greece, every culture, every tradition has its literature that guides and defines it—and the cultures indigenous to North America are no different.

What is shared with all tribal nations in North America is the knowledge that the earth is a
...more
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
I haven’t picked up one of the Norton anthologies since my undergrad studies, but when I saw this Native Nations poetry edited by Joy Harjo (with Leanne Howe, Jennifer Elise Foerster and contributing editors) I was immediately on my library website reserving a copy!

In opening the text, Harjo’s introduction notes the significance of this anthology: “We have always been here, beneath the surface of American poetic consciousness, and have questioned how there can be an American poetry without our v
...more
Julie
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love reading poetry to settle my mind, but this collection also expanded my understanding of native cultures and perspectives. The works are incredibly diverse in time period, language, tone, and style, and I am so thankful for all the work that went into creating this anthology.
Rebecca
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've renewed this as many times as the library would let me, but it still doesn't feel like enough! This is a beautiful collection of Native Nations poetry. It includes poets from the 1600s through today. The poetry is sorted into basic American geography, like "Northeast and Midwest", "Plains and Mountains," etc.

Here are a couple of my favorite lines from a couple of my favorite poems:

Chrystos, "The Real Indian Leans Against"
"I want turkeys to keep their feathers
& the non-feathered variety to s
...more
James
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, poetry
Edited by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, this Norton anthology of Native Nations poetry is long overdue but a masterpiece. More than 160 poets from more than 100 different indigenous nations are represented in an anthology that covers over a hundred years of written poetry, rich in tradition from centuries before. At times heartbreaking and infuriating, the poems do not shy away from the historical treatment of native peoples but do find hope and affirmation. Highly recommended.
Jeimy
This Norton Anthology took me back to my undergrad years studying American Lit! After reading a digital ARC, I ordered the paperback for my classroom collection and was pleased to note that the pages were not made from onion paper... That would have really been a throwback to my university years.

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo edited this collection which seems comprehensive, but falls short when you think how much heftier the tome would be if it contained the poems created by the colonizers. However, s
...more
Brian Passey
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This wonderfully comprehensive collection of Native Nations poems spans centuries and includes indigenous poets from across the continental United States as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and American Samoa. While some focus on traditional poetic subject matter like nature, many speak to the realities of modern rez life and loss of culture. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. I came away from it with a list of 20 or so Native poets whose work I want to further explore. I also suggest re ...more
Aimee
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Does not go deep into each poet, but it is comprehensive; a short bio and 2-3 pinnacle poems for each writer. It's broken up by geographic region, and includes a thorough table of contents with titles of poem and names of poets (in other words, there are multiple ways to search). This should be an equal addition to all English literature courses alongside any of the traditional Norton Anthologies. A beautiful addition to the American literature canon. ...more
Lauren
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, reviewed
An incredible anthology celebrating the breadth and depth of poetry from indigenous North Americans, edited by Joy Harjo. Divided by region, there is every sort of poem, feeling, and theme here. As with any collection this all-encompassing, there were poems I loved and poems I didn't enjoy as much, but the anthology as a whole is a masterpiece of native art and culture across centuries and space. ...more
Janine
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like all collections, some of the poems spoke to more than others. Some grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, some were good. They range from funny to enraged. I appreciate the brief biographies of each poet, they really show the diversity of the authors. I also liked how they were arranged geographically. I started with the region where I live and those poems resonated with me. Overall a beautiful offering.
Heather King
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This poetry anthology was perfect. I liked how it was divided into regions, and that tribal affiliations were acknowledged, reaffirming that "indigenous peoples" encompasses so much. I also enjoyed reading a brief summary of each poet, and the experiences they have had. Very interesting. I will be urging others to read this as well. ...more
Matt Miles
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This breathtakingly expansive volume grasps at memory, champions voices against the efforts of many to silence, paints the necessity of the natural world, speaks to personal and collective histories, mocks where mockery is needed, and sees every grief and beauty life has to offer. Every poem in this collection is a treasure.
marina furdyna
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I keep that book by my bed and I’d just read random page or I’d go by the authors or age or the geographical order, nonetheless it all makes such a beautiful sense. Poetry seems to be a luxury today (for me) and this book is a remarkable collection of tiny little diamonds, hidden from the world. Really great editors’ job, piece of art!
Alison
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating this not like a one author set of poetry but as an anthology, which I don't think is my favorite structure to read, but I think this is a beautiful example of that structure. What you lose is the cohesiveness of a poet's work, but what you gain is an understanding of the landscape of poetry across the different Native Nations, which is powerful in its own way. ...more
Kate
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
First book of the year! I don't often read poetry so it was a new and different experience. In general I think this is a fantastic anthology done in a really thoughtful manner - readers get to read poetry that spans centuries and provides a lot of cultural commentary and reflection by Native poets. ...more
KL
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A much needed collection comprising more Native poets in one place than I've ever seen in my entire life. There are poems in here that I never would have had the opportunity to read if this anthology did not exist. I am so grateful for this book. ...more
JanO
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read half as an e-book from the local library. Then ordered my own paperback because it is an outstanding collection of Native poets.
Juli Anna
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is a wonderful collection full of wide-ranging voices and traditions. I discovered quite a few new poets here whose work I can't wait to dig into. ...more
cubierocks
Really spectacular - required reading.
Kaz
Great poetry anthology of indigenous authors. Read mainly the works of North West Coast authors.
Kelly
Feb 02, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF
Roma
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of poems, some beautiful, some painful, all moving.
Michelle Bizzell
Some lovely poems in here and a great resource for the more scholarly of poetry readers. I especially enjoyed the organization by region, as it gave a context for poems that could be very different from one another. However, this is a big collection that I probably should have given myself more space to dip in and out of rather than reading the whole thing, as I found that experience a bit overwhelming. I would recommend for anyone studying poetry to get a new perspective on Native American poet ...more
Doris Raines
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
NICE BOOK.
Sarah Dean
rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2021
Julie Clark
rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2020
John Forbis
rated it really liked it
Mar 04, 2021
Strider Jones
rated it it was amazing
Dec 25, 2020
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Postcolonial Love Poem
  • Faithful and Virtuous Night
  • African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song
  • "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity
  • Poems 1962-2012
  • Obit
  • The Map of Salt and Stars
  • Whale Day: And Other Poems
  • The Only Good Indians
  • Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land
  • Moon of the Crusted Snow
  • Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood
  • The Great Conversation: Nature and the Care of the Soul
  • Lakewood
  • I Hold a Wolf by the Ears
  • Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)
  • The Other Bennet Sister
  • Old Yeller
See similar books…
899 followers
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

News & Interviews

  If you listen to NPR regularly, you’ve likely heard the voice of Shankar Vedantam, the longtime science correspondent and host of the radio...
8 likes · 1 comments