Photo: Matika Wilbur
Photo: Matika Wilbur

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She served three terms as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2019-2022 and is winner of Yale's 2023 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.

The author of ten books of poetry, including the highly acclaimed, Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years, several plays and children's books, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior, her many honors include the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Harjo delivered the 2021 Windham-Campbell Lecture at Yale, part of the virtual Windham-Campbell Prize Festival that year. That lecture was the basis for Catching the Light, published in 2022 by Yale University Press in the Why I Write series.

As a musician and performer, Harjo has produced seven award-winning music albums including her newest, I Pray for My Enemies. She served as 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 is the first Artist-in-Residence for Tulsa's Bob Dylan Center. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In REMEMBER, acclaimed Indigenous creators Joy Harjo and Michaela Goade invite young readers to pause and reflect on family, nature, their heritage, and the world around them.

This timeless poem paired with magnificent paintings makes for a picture book that is a true celebration of life and our human role within it.

Praise for REMEMBER

“With Caldecott Medalist Goade as illustrator, recent U.S. Poet Laureate Harjo’s acclaimed poem becomes a beauty to behold…A rich and reverential tribute to life, family, and poetry.”

Booklist, starred review

“Evoking the cyclical feeling of a slow breath in and out, it’s a smartly constructed, reflective picture book based in connection and noticing.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The teeming images thrillingly catch young viewers up as they swirl, circles emphasizing the cyclical nature of life. ‘Remember,’ closes the text, and children will.”

The Horn Book, starred review

"A contemplative, visually dazzling masterpiece that will resonate even more deeply each time it is read.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

With Caldecott Medalist Goade as illustrator, recent U.S. Poet Laureate Harjo’s acclaimed poem becomes a beauty to behold.


Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light

Fifty Poems for Fifty Years

A magnificent selection of fifty poems to celebrate three-term US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s fifty years as a poet.

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In this gemlike volume, Harjo selects her best poems from across fifty years, beginning with her early discoveries of her own voice and ending with moving reflections on our contemporary moment. Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light traces every occasion of a lifetime; it offers poems on birth, death, love, and resistance; on motherhood and on losing a parent; on fresh beginnings amidst legacies of displacement. Generous notes on each poem offer insight into Harjo’s inimitable poetics as she takes inspiration from sunrise and horse songs and jazz, reckons with home and loss, and listens to the natural messengers of the earth.

Praise for Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light

"Joy Harjo’s work is both very old and very new. She tells stories in verse, sometimes highly compressed, sometimes long and winding, which ritually invoke and link her to roots and sources. She seeks continuity between what she calls her ‘past and future ancestors,’ and views each poem as a ceremonial object with the potential to make change. She has found a singing language for grief and meaningfully transforms the American story. Her work is a long-lasting contribution to our literature.”

—Edward Hirsch

“Joy’s poetry voice is indeed ancient. She has always been a visionary. A healer. A guide. . . . The poems in this collection are a song cycle, a woman warrior’s journey in this era, reaching backward and forward and waking in the present moment. A chant for survival.”

—Sandra Cisneros

“Harjo, though very much a poet of America, extracts from her own personal and cultural touchstones a more galactal understanding of the world, and her poems become richer for it. Here, she says, is a living, breathing earth to which we’re all connected. Here is unbridled potential for the poetic—in everything, even in ourselves.”

—Maya Phillips, The New Yorker

“These poems taken from half a century of Harjo’s work show the powerful words and moving themes that have made her an unforgettable voice in the world of poetry.”

Book Riot

Press: Interviews, Reviews, Articles

February 13, 2024, BNN
Rising Indigenous Voices: Reconnecting with Ancestral Lands and Preserving Cultural Heritage

As a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Harjo has made her mark in the literary world with her poetry, plays, children's books, memoirs, and music albums. Her collaboration with Goade on the book 'REMEMBER' invites young readers to reflect on family, nature, and heritage. And her selection of her best poems in the volume 'Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light' explores themes of birth, death, love, and resistance.

February 11, 2024, OU Daily
Gaylord College to honor Joy Harjo with Lumine Lifetime Achievement Award

Joy Harjo, the 23rd poet laureate of the United States, will be awarded Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication's 2024 Lumine Lifetime Achievement Award,

February 10, 2024, Poetry Society
Announcing the 2024 Frost Medalist, Joy Harjo

The Poetry Society of America is pleased to announce that Joy Harjo is the 2024 recipient of the Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. Named for Robert Frost, and first given in 1930, the Frost Medal is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in American poetry and is awarded annually at the discretion of the PSA's Board of Governors. Previous award winners include Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, and most recently Juan Felipe Herrera.

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