32 pages 1 hour read

Joy Harjo

An American Sunrise

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 2017

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1. In considering representation of Native populations, how do the themes and images in “An American Sunrise” compare to themes and images used in electronic or print media representations over time? (Consider, for example, representations in advertisements, television, and film.) Spend a portion of class time independently researching media representations of Native individuals and groups over the decades. Select three specific examples to examine; then detail in a slideshow or other organizational format similarities and differences between each example you discovered and specific images or events in the text of the poem. Share your analysis with the class in a short presentation.

2. Investigate Joy Harjo’s background as a musician here, and listen to a reading of “An American Sunrise” that is set to music. Now consider music and lyrics with which you are familiar that connect in some way to the print, oral reading, or set-to-music version of “An American Sunrise.” Lyrics, rhythms, genre characteristics, origins, artists, themes, or other points of comparison are all possibilities.

Compile a list of song or musical composition titles that might appear on a themed compilation album that leads with Harjo’s set-to-music poem.