Joy Harjo

A member of the Mvskoke Nation, Joy Harjo is a multidisciplinary artist: a poet, musician, playwright, painter, and author. In her works, Harjo draws on First Nations storytelling and histories, as well as feminist, indigenous, and environmental and social justice poetic traditions. Her poetry often centers around the need for remembrance of ancestral lands and culture, and the power of language and song to return us to a balance with the earth and her peoples.

Harjo is the author of more than nine books of poetry, including An American Sunrise, two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior, several children’s books, plays, and literary anthologies. She also performs internationally with her saxophone and flutes and has produced seven music albums. Her works have connected with audiences around the world, garnering praise and critical acclaim.

Harjo is a founding board member and chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and is the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, the first Native American to hold this honor. For her signature project as the 2019-2021 U.S. Poet Laureate, Harjo gathered the works of contemporary Native poets into a fully digital map titled, Living Nations, Living Words.

Year Honored: 2021
Birth: 1951 -
Born In: Oklahoma
Achievements: Arts
Schools Attended: University of New Mexico, University of Iowa