Joy Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States and the first Native American to hold the title, will speak in the Hollins University Theatre on Monday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke Nation and belongs to Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground). She is the author of nine volumes of poetry, including her most recent book, 2019’s highly acclaimed An American Sunrise; Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (2015), which was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and named a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association;The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994), which received the Oklahoma Book Award; and In Mad Love and War (1990), which won an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her memoir, Crazy Brave, was the common reading for Hollins’ 2019-20 entering first-year class; it was presented the PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Non Fiction and the American Book Award.
Harjo has also published two award-winning children’s books, The Good Luck Cat and For a Girl Becoming; a collaboration with photographer/astronomer Stephen Strom; an anthology of North American Native women’s writing; several screenplays and collections of prose interviews; and three plays, including Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, a Play, which she toured as a one-woman show and was recently published by Wesleyan Press. She is executive editor of the forthcoming anthology, When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through – A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry.
Harjo began her term as U.S. Poet Laureate last fall. Upon announcing her appointment in June 2019, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden stated, “Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry – ‘soul talk’ as she calls it – for over four decades. To her, poems are ‘carriers of dreams, knowledge, and wisdom,’ and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us re-imagine who we are.”
Following her lecture, Harjo will host a book signing in the Green Drawing Room, Main Building.