Native American Poet Joy Harjo will speak at Washington State University in Pullman, as part of the “Who Speaks for America” lecture series organized by the Department of Comparative American Cultures (CAC). Harjo’s talk is free and open to the public, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, in the Center for Undergraduate Education, room #203.
When asked to comment on the perspective Harjo will bring to the WSU campus, Alex Kuo, Chair of CAC said, “Harjo is a unique voice, poet, and protector of all living things, someone who forgives but does not forget.” Started by Kuo nearly 20 years ago, the “Who Speaks for America?” lecture series brings accomplished, celebrated, and diverse voices to the Washington State University campus.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is an enrolled member of the Muskogee Tribe and much of her poetry deals with issues and hardships facing native peoples. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of The Americas.
Harjo graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.A. in poetry in 1976. She completed a MFA (Creative Writing) degree at the University of Iowa in 1978. She taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Arizona State University, University of Colorado, and the University of New Mexico. Today she resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico and often combines her love of words and music by performing her poetry and playing saxophone.
Harjo’s many honors include: the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 1991 for In Mad Love and War, The American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.