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 seven award-winning music albums including her newest, I Pray for My Enemies. 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.

I Pray For My Enemies

In her first new recording in a decade, Joy Harjo – the first Native American named Poet Laureate of the United States – digs deep into the indigenous red earth and the shared languages of music to sing, speak and play a stunningly original musical meditation that seeks healing for a troubled world – I Pray for My Enemies, to be released from Sunyata Records/Sony Orchard Distribution on March 5, 2021.

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.

"This anthology is revelatory and stunning.… It shows the remarkable strength and diversity of Native poetry, which vitalizes all of American poetry. It is essential reading."

—Arthur Sze, National Book Award–winning author of Sight Lines

"To me, this book is a cartography of how Native writers have turned to poetry for centuries as a way of marking, naming, and preserving external and internal landscapes."

—Dean Rader, "America Starts Here: On “When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry." LA Review of Books

Press: Interviews, Reviews, Articles

April 14, 2021, KUNM Native American Calling
Music Maker of the Month - Native America Calling

Listen to Joy Harjo on KUNM Native America Calling on April 14, 11 am - 12 pm MT with Tara Gatewood. "Celebrate poetry and live in the music" with Joy Harjo! Joy Harjo and her album I Pray for My Enemies is Music Maker of the Month. Listen HERE

April 13, 2021, Spokane Public Radio
Soundspace Interview with Joy Harjo

Join Zan as she hosts a phone interview with multi-instrumentalist musician, poet, performer and activist Joy Harjo, 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate (and first Native American), as she speaks about what inspired her recent album, I Pray for My Enemies, with sample tracks. Listen Here

April 13, 2021, Washington City Paper
City Lights: Joy Harjo Reads in the NMAI’s Indigenous Poetry: Resilience

For National Poetry Month, Harjo joins poets Kealoha (Native Hawaiian), Natalie Diaz (Mojave/Akimel O’otham), and Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio (Native Hawaiian) for a Smithsonian-hosted virtual reading and discussion.

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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