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She Had Some Horses

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  987 Ratings  ·  53 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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Stephen Page
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Friday afternoon. I take a taxi to the Buenos Aires Airpark. On my flight to Uruguay I read She Had Some Horses, by Jay Harjo. The poems seem somehow familiar, something . . . I am trying to put my finger on it . . . yes . . . they remind me of poems I have read in workshops at university—there is nothing technically wrong with them, but there is nothing outstanding about them either. They evoke some imagery, but little emotion. My friend meets me at the airport and drives me to his home. That e
Dec 25, 2008 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.
Shivanee Ramlochan
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Like Jacklight, She Had Some Horses was written and published before I was born. I find myself turning to the early collections of powerful, dangerous women, almost for a kind of fecund, uncivil reassurance: that long before I was a smear of grease, women have been doing this work: that they will be doing it long after I am a trace of ash.

Harjo's poems are bountiful, bursting with galloping horses, fat stars, "a woman as gold as the river bottom", memories swimming deep in the blood. I come her
Anne Skelding
Read for school. Idk. It's poetry. Would personally have preferred real horses to metaphorical horses. *shrug*
Feb 08, 2012 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
Oct 23, 2015 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
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
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really 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.
Dec 21, 2009 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.
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Timothy by: Greg
Beautiful and devastating. This book blew through me.
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captivating poetry.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Harjo's poetry. on the back of the book is a quote that summarizes this book better than I can
"This is not a book. It is an opening into woman light, into hatching, into awakening. The ruined and dismembered, imprisoned, dispossessed, ride out on a bright thundering of horses in a light of illumination and love. Who touches this book touches a woman. If you want to remember what you never listened to and what you didn't know you knew, or wanted to know, open this sound and forget to fear.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
A recent sermon at First Unitarian Society of Madison included the poem, Remember, by Joy Harjo as part of a service honoring indigenous culture. I found it in a book of her poems entitled She Had Some Horses. I found "I Give You Back" to be a powerful read, about releasing fear born from wrongs suffered. The poems are short, and spark my interest in New Mexico. We are headed there for Spring Break 2018.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book!
Favourite poems: Remember, She Remembers the Future, Moonlight, Jemez, Two Horses, I Give You Back

Sometimes it is like
facing the dreamer
who knows the you
of blood and stars
and you talk out
the winter,
horses neighing
at the razor sky.

Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This is a beautiful collection. I'd already read some of the poems contained in it in the selected poems in How We Became Human, but I found that I appreciated them more in their own collection. This is, I think, largely due to the unity of the collection; the context of the rest of the collection adds weight to each poem. Anyway, in She Had Some Horses, Harjo displays amazing skill in word choice and arrangement on the page. The arrangement is interesting and adds a great deal of potential for ...more
Alyssa Oka Van Iman
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars. Aiisuba yvt pisa achukma.
Nick     Smith
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I release you
Michelle Boyer
Joy Harjo (Creek) focuses on the significance of womanhood and its many facets in this collection of poetry. She unites several poems using the imagery of horses. However, the focus on womanhood is a truer unifier. Many of the poems have subtle hints of violence against women, but Harjo also directly addresses violence in other poems.

Part I is called “Survivors” and many of the poetry deals with womanhood—both as survivors, and as mother figures that give birth. The poem “For Alva Benson, And F
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"Remember" (40)

"Everyone laughed at the impossibility of it, / but also the truth. Because who would believe / the fantastic and terrible story of all of our survival / those who were never meant / to survive?" (15)

"Something has been let loose in rain; / it is teaching us to love." (17)

Remember "a voice like water." (18)

"She is the woman hanging from the 13th floor window / on the Indian side of town." (22)

Remember "all darkness / is open to all light." (27)

Remember "I am memory alive / not jus
Peter Kerry Powers
May 24, 2015 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
Maria Catherino
Mar 30, 2013 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
Oct 22, 2008 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
Mar 21, 2008 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
Feb 22, 2015 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.
Mar 16, 2008 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."
Apr 17, 2016 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.
Oct 19, 2014 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.
Jul 11, 2014 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.
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.33 stars.

My favorites were;
Remember p.40
Nautilaus p.45
Untitled p.49
What I Should Have Said p. 50
Jemez p.52
The Poem I just Wrote p. 58
Kansas City p.33
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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
“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…