Poet, musician, screenwriter, and children's author Professionals/Joy Harjo Joy Harjo's work as a poet, activist, and musician has earned several accolades. Harjo was recently named the first Native American United States Poet Laureate in history. She published two books for young audiences and produced five award-winning recordings in addition to her many books of poetry. Harjo also collaborated with other musicians on several albums including one that won a Grammy Award.
She began writing poems at age 13 and dropped out of school in the ninth grade to travel and play music. It wasn't until she returned home that she decided to make writing her career. Today, Harjo continues to write poems for adults and children, act as an advocate for Indian people's rights, and perform around the country. She has received many awards for her work including the National Medal of Arts and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Harjo lives in New Mexico with her husband and family. They have six children together; three daughters and three sons. Her book Brave Hearts: A Collection of Native American Stories and Poems was published in 2006. The book is a selection of stories and poems by different Native Americans about their experiences with racism and its effects on their lives.
Harjo wrote the screenplay for the film version of her own story called The Last Songkeeper. The movie stars Jessica Chastain and James Earl Jones and it will be released in December 2011.
Joy Harjo (/'ha: rdZoU/HAR-joh; born May 9, 1951) is a poet, musician, dramatist, and author from the United States. She is the current Poet Laureate of the United States, and the first Native American to hold that position. The daughter of a Cherokee mother and French father, she grew up in many parts of the United States including New York City, Washington, D.C., and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
She has been praised for her contributions to Indigenous poetry, and in 2014 was named one of "14 Modern Day Masters of the English Language" by Esquire magazine. In 2015, she became the first Native American woman to be awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Harjo has said that she does not consider herself "Native American", but rather "Indian". The term "Native American" was coined after the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, when those living here were classified as "Indians" or "Native Americans". Although she identifies as Native American, Harjo also states that she is "not tribal" and that being tribal means having a common identity and relationship with an organization such as a tribe. She has criticized the use of the term as a marketing tool and says that it excludes people who have never had contact with tribes.
|Genre||Poetry, non-fiction, fiction|
|Literary movement||Native American Renaissance|
|United States Poet Laureate|
Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States Joy Harjo (/'ha: rdZoU/HAR-joh; born May 9, 1951) is a poet, musician, dramatist, and author from the United States. The daughter of an Army officer, she was raised in many places including Germany, Egypt, and Alaska before graduating from Harvard University with a degree in English literature.
Her work explores issues of identity, injustice, and survival. Through poetry, music, and theater, she has sought to convey the voices of those who have been ignored by the mainstream media.
Joy Marie Harjo was born on May 9, 1951, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to John Francis "Jack" Harjo and Mary Elizabeth (née Burns) Harjo. Her father was an army officer who worked for the Department of Defense during most of Joy's childhood years. They moved often when his career required him to do so. When Joy was nine years old, the family settled in Fort Wainwright, near Barrow, Alaska. There her father was assigned to teach military science at the Arctic College. She describes this time as her Alaskan years.
When Joy was 15 years old, the family returned to Illinois where her mother could be close to her parents. A year later, her father was sent to Germany where he died when Joy was only eight years old.
She was named Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2019.
She is best known for her work with the music group the Native American Dance Theatre, which she co-founded in 1972. In 1992, Harjo published an autobiography titled The Woman Who Married Two Worlds, which detailed her childhood on an Indian reservation and her efforts to balance her two lives as a poet and a dancer.
In addition to her poetry and music, Harjo has written several plays for theater and television. Her work has been praised for its insight into Indian culture and its impact on women. She has won many awards for her poems and music including the National Endowment for the Arts Award, the American Book Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship (also called a "Genius Grant") in 1998.
In July 2012, it was announced that Harjo had been chosen by President Barack Obama to be his new ambassador to Belgium. However, she declined the post due to other obligations.
Harjo was raised on the Lame Deer Reservation in central Montana near Big Mountain and Heart Butte. Her family is part of the Piegan Blackfeet tribe.