Harjo will make two Hawai‘i appearances: Tuesday January 28th at Honolulu Museum of Art and Thursday, January 20th at Maui Arts & Cultural Center as part of The Green Room, The Merwin Conservancy’s arts and ecology salon series held in memory of W.S. Merwin and presented by Aqua Aston Hospitality.
On Tuesday, January 28th at Honolulu Museum of Art and Thursday, January 30th at Maui Arts & Cultural Center, The Merwin Conservancy will present two intimate evenings with the newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, in the third installment of the Memorial Season of The Green Room, an arts and ecology salon series that fosters a reverence for language, nature, and imagination in the community. The Memorial Series, which runs through March 2020, is a curated season of The Green Room inspired by the Conservancy’s late founders, W.S. and Paula Merwin.
At both events, which begin at 7pm, Harjo will give readings of her original works of poetry. Her presentations will be followed by intimate Q&A sessions with the audience and book signings at courtyard receptions featuring a “pop up” book store. Tickets to both events are now on sale.
In 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is an internationally known award-winning poet, writer, performer, and saxophone player of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Grammy award winning saxophonist Paul Winter says, “Joy Harjo is a poet of music just as she is a poet of words.”
“We’re delighted to welcome Joy Harjo to the islands–as a way to celebrate her deeply important work as a poet and musician, and of course her appointment as Poet Laureate,” said Sara Tekula, Director of Programs. “Joy’s voice and presence is exactly what we need during these troubling times, and we know the Hawai‘i community will rejoice with us upon her arrival.”
The Memorial Season of The Green Room is presented by a generous sponsorship from Aqua Aston Hospitality. Additional support has been provided by a grant from the Atherton Family Foundation and partners Halekulani and Casa de Flores. The Honolulu event is co-presented with Honolulu Museum of Art. The Maui event is made “zero waste” by Maui Huliau Foundation.
Proceeds ticket sales benefit The Merwin Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
About Joy Harjo
In 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is an internationally known award-winning poet, writer, performer, and saxophone player of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Grammy award winning saxophonist Paul Winter says, “Joy Harjo is a poet of music just as she is a poet of words.” She is the author of nine books of poetry and a memoir.
Her many writing awards include the 2019 Jackson Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.
The Judges Citation of the Jackson Prize declares, “Harjo’s work speaks not only to the world we live in, but to the unseen world that moves through us, the thread that has connected us all from the start…. Harjo’s poems embody a rich physicality and movement; they begin in the ear and the eye, they go on to live and hum inside the body…. Throughout her luminous and substantial body of work, there is a sense of timelessness, of ongoingness, of history repeating; these are poems that hold us up to the truth and insist we pay attention.”
And on behalf of the judges of the Wallace Stevens Award, Alicia Ostriker said: “Throughout her extraordinary career as poet, storyteller, musician, memoirist, playwright and activist, Joy Harjo has worked to expand our American language, culture, and soul.”
Harjo’s poetry collections include An American Sunrise (W.W. Norton, 2019); Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (2015)—shortlisted for the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize and added to ALA’s 2016 Notable Books List, this book is hailed by Yusef Komunyakaa as “a marvelous instrument that veins through a dark lode of American history.“; How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems; and She Had Some Horses.
Her memoir Crazy Brave (W.W. Norton, 2012) won several awards including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. It was called “The best kind of memoir, an unself-conscious mix of autobiography, spiritual rumination, cultural evaluation, history and political analysis told in simple but authoritative and deeply poetic prose” by Ms Magazine. Harjo is currently working on her next memoir, and she has a commission from the Public Theater of NY to write We Were There When Jazz Was Invented—a musical play that will restore southeastern natives to the American story of blues and jazz.
Soul Talk, Song Language (2011, Wesleyan) is a collection of Harjo’s essays and interviews. She co-edited an anthology of contemporary Native women’s writing: Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Native Women’s Writing of North America, one of the London Observer’s Best Books of 1997. She wrote the award-winning children’s book The Good Luck Cat (Harcourt), and in 2009 she published a young adult, coming-of-age-book, For A Girl Becoming, which won a Moonbeam Award and a Silver Medal from the Independent Publishers Awards.
A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, The Arrow Dynamics. She has five CDs of music and poetry including her most recent award-winning album of traditional flute, Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She also performs her one-woman show, “Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light,” which premiered at the Wells Fargo Theater in Los Angeles in 2009 with other performances at the Public Theater in NYC and LaJolla Playhouse as part of the Native Voices at the Autry.
Harjo is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Rasmuson United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.