Photo: Matika Wilbur
Photo: Matika Wilbur

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is serving her second term as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States.

The author of nine books of poetry, including the highly acclaimed An American Sunrise, several plays and children's books, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior: A Call for Love and Justice, her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. As a musician and performer, Harjo has produced six award-winning music albums including her newest, I Pray for My Enemies (Sunyata Records). She is Exec­u­tive Edi­tor of the anthol­o­gy When the Light of the World was Sub­dued, Our Songs Came Through — A Nor­ton Anthol­o­gy of Native Nations Poet­ry and the editor of Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, the companion anthology to her signature Poet Laureate project. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through

A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry

Edited by Joy Harjo with LeAnne Howe, Jennifer Elise Foerster, and Contributing Editors

When the Light of the World edited by Joy Harjo

United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gathers the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology.

This landmark anthology celebrates the indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries. Opening with a blessing from Pulitzer Prize–winner N. Scott Momaday, the book contains powerful introductions from contributing editors who represent the five geographically organized sections. Each section begins with a poem from traditional oral literatures and closes with emerging poets, ranging from Eleazar, a seventeenth-century Native student at Harvard, to Jake Skeets, a young Diné poet born in 1991, and including renowned writers such as Luci Tapahanso, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier, and Ray Young Bear. When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through offers the extraordinary sweep of Native literature, without which no study of American poetry is complete.

Press: Interviews, Reviews, Articles

January 15, 2021, South Dakota Public Radio
In the Moment . . . Arts

United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo says America has a broken heart, and poetry can help heal it. Part of that healing is the acknowledgement of generations of Native American poetic voices.

January 05, 2021, Cowboys & Indians
The Real Deal: Indigenous Storytellers

This year, we’re shining our literary light on Indigenous writers Joy Harjo (Muscogee Nation), Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), and Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa).

January 05, 2021, nondoc
A Cast of Characters: Notable Oklahomans from 2020

Our list of notable Oklahomans features people who have been at the center of the news and culture in 2020. Joy Harjo is among them.

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Librarian of Congress Names Joy Harjo the Nation's 23rd Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed Joy Harjo as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress on June 19, 2019. Harjo was reappointed to a second term on April 30, 2020, and a third term on Nov. 19, 2020