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Joy Harjo, a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, made history this year when she became the 23rd US Poet Laureate, making her the first Native American poet to hold the honor.
Harjo has championed the art of poetry – "soul talk,” as she calls it – for over four decades. To her, poems are “carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,” and through them, she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.
Harjo is the author of several poetry collections including Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, She Had Some Horses and An American Sunrise. Her memoir, Crazy Brave, won the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, among other honors. Also a renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning albums including Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009.