The Santa Barbara Public Library is inviting the community to read Joy Harjo’s “An American Sunrise” as part of 2021’s National Endowment for the Arts Big Read: Santa Barbara Reads.
Free copies of “An American Sunrise” are available while supplies last at the SB Reads Kick-Off Event, set for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara. Participants will meet at the library’s historic entrance.
The event will also feature a Poem Walk highlighting poems, which were inspired by “An American Sunrise” by local authors and were selected to be featured as part of SBPL’s poetry contest.
As part of Santa Barbara Reads, Santa Barbara Public Library has partnered with local experts, organizations and schools to host book discussions and other virtual and outdoor events throughout the community. Find the full list of events at sbplibrary.org/sbreads.
The library is also distributing 200 copies of selected poems from “An American Sunrise,” which were translated into Spanish by the library’s Eric Castro and printed locally by Gunpowder Press with the permission of Ms. Harjo.
The Santa Barbara Public Library has been granted $20,000 for “An American Sunrise,” according to a report from the NEA. (The NEA has partnered with Arts Midwest to fund 61 grants totalling $1,070,000 to support NEA Big Read projects from 2021-2022.)
“For 15 years the NEA Big Read has supported opportunities for communities to come together around a book, creating a shared experience that encourages openness and conversations around issues central to our lives. We congratulate all of the new NEA Big Read grantees and look forward to seeing the range of meaningful activities they create for their communities,” said Ann Eilers, acting NEA chairman.
Each year the Santa Barbara Public Library encourages the local community to read the same book at the same time through the SB Reads.
“An American Sunrise” explores indigenous pasts, presents, and potential futures in the U.S., and it prompts readers to unpack the ongoing impact of American colonialism, according to a news release.
“The poems in this book may not be easy for everyone to read,” the library said in its news release. “These poems ask us to face history as we examine it and try to to understand it, meanwhile working towards a better future.”