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Tuesday, May 9, 2023

'Powerful, beautiful and meaningful'


“The creative act amazes me. Whether it's poetry, whether it's music, it's an amazing process, and it has something to do with bringing forth the old out into the world to create and to bring forth that which will rejuvenate.” – Joy Harjo

Harjo, whose roots trace to a number of Native American cultures, was born in Oklahoma on this date in 1951 and thought art would be her career path.  But, after grad school at the University of New Mexico she fell in love with writing and music.   Since the mid-1970s, she has taught writing at half-a-dozen major universities and traveled the performance art circuit, playing alto saxophone with the band Poetic Justice and doing poetry readings and solo musical performances. 

Among her written works are Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, the award-winning Crazy Brave, and many wonderful books of poetry including How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975–2000.  She has edited literary journals, written several screenplays, released 7 CDs and served as U.S.Poet Laureate, earning a basket of awards and Lifetime Achievement accolades.  
“I am a member of the Muskogee people, a poet, a musician, a dreamer of sorts, and a questioner,” she said.  “It’s important as a writer to do my art well and do it in a way that is powerful and beautiful and meaningful, so that my work regenerates the people, certainly Indian people, and the earth and the sun.  And in that way we all continue forever.”

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