Poems are houses for spirits

In this 2008 edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, poet Barbara Goldberg talked with guest Joy Harjo, poet, songwriter and musician of the Muskoke/Creek nation. With her red boots tucked under the table, Ms. Harjo explains that “writing a poem is like listening.” She reads the poems “This Morning I Pray for My Enemies,” “I Give You Back” (one of her oldest and most requested poems), “Emergence” and “My House is the Red Earth.” She also plays haunting bits of melody on her wooden flute, and sings a Creek song. “All poems are little houses,” Harjo tells Goldberg. “I figure if I can build it nice enough, a spirit will come and live in it.” She speaks about finding her home in cultures around the world, on the ocean while paddling her outrigger canoe, and in the Oklahoma nation where she grew up. But really, she explains, laying a her tattooed right hand on her chest, “My home is here.” For more information about HoCoPoLitSo (The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society) and the live and televised programs it offers, visit www.hocopolitso.org.