Joy Harjo is a multi-talented artist of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She is an internationally known poet, performer, writer and musician. She has published seven books of acclaimed poetry. They include: She Had Some Horses, In Mad Love and War, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, and How We Became Human, New and Selected Poems. She co-edited an anthology of contemporary Native women's writing, Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Native Women’s Writing of North America. It was proclaimed one of the London Observer’s Best Books of 1997. She wrote the award-winning children’s book from Harcourt, The Good Luck Cat. She also contributed poetic prose to photographs by Stephen Strom in Secrets from the Center of the World.
Joy Harjo extends her poetic vision through the medium of music. Her first music CD, Letter from the End of the 20th Century was released by Silver Wave Records in 1997. Harjo co-produced the album and is featured as poet and saxophone player. The album was honored by the First Americans in the Arts for Outstanding Musical Achievement and called by Pulse Magazine the “best dub poetry album recorded in North America”. Her second CD of original songs, Native Joy for Real, crosses many genres and has been praised for its daring brilliance. Harjo has performed internationally, from the Arctic Circle in Norway at the Riddu Riddu Festival, to Madras, India, to the Ford Theater in Los Angeles. She has been featured on Bill Moyers, The Power of the Word series, and on a new Garrison Keillor show. Harjo was also the narrator for the Turner Broadcasting’s The Native Americans series and narrator for the Emmy award-winning show, Navajo Codetalkers for National Geographic.
Joy Harjo’s other accomplishments include co-producer and talent on the music video “Eagle Song”, nominated for best music video at the American Indian Film Festival 2002. The American Indian Film Festival awarded her the Eagle Spirit Achievement Award that year. She has served on the National Council on the Arts. She is the Joseph Russo endowed professor at the University of New Mexico, and when not teaching and performing she lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she is a member of the Hui Nalu Canoe Club.
Attended Elementary, Jr. High School and one year at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. High School graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. University of New Mexico, B.A., 1976; University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1978.
Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award Oklahoma Center for the Book, 2003 http://www.odl.state.ok.us/ocb/pastgib.htm; the American Indian Festival of Words Author Award, Tulsa City County Library; Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, 2000; Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, 1998; New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, 1997; Lifetime Achievement Award, from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; the William Carols Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.
Born and raised in Oklahoma.
The Last Song. [Las Cruces, NM]: Puerto Del Sol, 1975.
What Moon Drove Me to This? New York: I. Reed Books, 1979.
She Had Some Horses. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1983.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, October 3-29, 1989. With Smith, Jaune Quick-to-See. Long Beach, CA: University Art Museum, CSULB, 1989. An Exhibition catalog.
Secrets from the Center of the World. Photographs by Stephen Strom. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1989.
In Mad Love and War. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1990.
Fishing. [Browerville, MN]: Ox Head Press, 1992.
The Woman Who Fell from the Sky. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994.
Rescue of the Missing Buffalo. Columbus, OH: SRA Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 1995.
The Spiral of Memory: Interviews. Edited by Laura Coltelli. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996.
Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writing of North America. Edited with Gloria Bird. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.
A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2000.
The Good Luck Cat. Illustrated by Paul Lee. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 2000.
How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2002.
Daphne’s Lot. With Christopher Abani, David St. John, Ronald Gottesman, and Carol Muske-Dukes.Los Angeles: Red Hen Press, 2003.
In Honor of Mo Who is Our Cat, and We are Hers. Illustrated by Marshall Arisman. (A poem) [Salt Lake City: Green Cat Press], 2004.
“Three Poems”. Puerto del Sol 14, no.1 (Fall 1975): 50-52.
ed. “Poems and Stories”. Ploughshares 30, no.4 (Winter 2004-05).
Blue Mesa Review 18 (Fall 2006). With Julie Shigekuni, Jonathan Heinen and Christopher Jones.
Barney Bush, Joy Harjo. Kansas City, MO: New Letters, 1983. Broadcast May 1983 on the radio program New Letters on the Air. Reel-to-reel tape.
Furious Light. Washington, D.C.: Watershed Foundation, 1985. Audiocassette.
Native Women Writers. Naropa Institute, 1985. Recorded August 7, 1985, at Kappa Sigma Fraternity House in Boulder, Colorado. 2 audiocassettes. Reproduced by Naropa Audio Archive, 2 compact discs.
Alice Notley, Susan Edwards, Joy Harjo Poetry Reading 7-18-1986. Naropa Institute, 1986. 2 audiocassettes.
Joy Harjo II. Kansas City: University of Missouri, 1990? Originally recorded on the radio program New Letters on the Air. Audiocassette.
“The Musician Who Became a Bear: a Tribute to Pepper.” (Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice) (4:54) In Heartbeat. 2, More Voices of First Nations Women. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Folkways, 1991. CD SF 40455. Compact disc.
John Wayne Didn’t Kill Us All: Reflections on Poetry, Saxophone and Native American Culture. Aspen, CO: Aspen Writers’ Foundation, 1991. Compact disc.
Joy Harjo Reads Poems from In Mad Love and War. Program hosted by Tom Vitale. New York: Moveable Feast, 1992. A Moveable Feast, #9246. Audiocassette.
A Circle of Nations: Voices and Visions of American Indians. With Simon Ortiz. Edited by John Gattuso. Berkeley, CA: Audio Literature, 1993. 2 audiocassettes.
Joy Harjo at Santa Clara University, November 4, 1993. Audiocassette
Joy Harjo Reading. Recorded in Bloomington, Indiana on April 27, 1994. Sponsored by Indiana Review. Audiocassette.
Mankiller, Wilma Pearl and Michael Wallis. Mankiller. Berkeley, CA: Audio Literature, 1994. Read by Joy Harjo. 2 audiocassettes.
with Waldman, Anne, Joanne Kyger, Nathaniel Tarn et al. Colloquium June 23, 1995. Naropa Institute. Recorded July 7, 1995. Audiocassette.
Writing and Poetics Reading June 24, 1995. With Andrew Schelling, Janet Rodney, Nathaniel Tarn, Sam Hamill, and Anne Waldman. Naropa Institute, 1995. 2 audiocassettes.
“Creation Story”. (Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice) (5:50) In Honor 1 [A Benefit for the Honor the Earth Campaign]. Decatur, GA: Daemon Records, 1996. 19012-2.
2 compact discs.
Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century. Accompanied by Poetic Justice. Recorded at Stepbridge Studio, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Boulder, CO: Silver Wave Records, 1997. Compact disc.
with Shenandoah, Joanne, Robert Mirabal, R. Carlos Nakai, and Peter Kater. Native American Currents. With Joanne Shenandoah, Robert Mirabal, R. Carlos Nakai, and Peter Kater. Accompanied by Poetic Justice. Boulder, CO: Silver Wave Records, 1997. Compact disc.
Poets Read Their Contemporary Poetry, Before Columbus Foundation. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2003. Analog, 1980. FL9702. Compact disc.
Native Joy for Real. [United States]: Mekko Productions, 2004. Compact disc.
What Times are These? With Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Galway Kinnell and Suzanne Lummis. Ojai Valley, CA: Ojai Poetry Festival, 2005. Complete recording of the Ojai Poetry Festival, May 20-21, 2005. 4 compact discs.
“Letter to Lawson or Mvskokes Were There When Jazz Was Invented”. In Pulling Down the Clouds. (3:20) [Washington, D.C.]: Smithsonian Institution, 2007. Compact disc. Roots & Rights. Compilation of Indigenous roots music. [Canada]: Sweet Rebel Music, 2007. Compact disc.
I Give You Back: Soprano. Music by Annea Lockwood. (for high voice). Wellington, New Zealand: Waiteata Press, 1994. Annea Lockwood BMI, Feb. 1993. First performed by Mary Ann Hart at the Berkshire Conference on Women’s History in June 1993.
She Is One of Us: SSAATTBB, Quartz Crystal Flute, Drum. Music by Brent Michael Davids. Minneapolis, MN: Blue Butterfly Group, 2000.
[Joy Harjo Reads Her Poetry, September 26, 1985]. VHS. San Francisco, CA: American Poetry Archive, San Francisco State University, 1985.
Ancestral Voices. With Bill D. Moyers, Garrett Kaoru Hongo and Mary TallMountain.Part 3 of series, The Power of the Word. VHS. Alexandria, VA: PBS Video, 1989. Filmed at Glassboro State College in Glassboro, New Jersey.
The Runaway. VHS. Produced, directed and edited by Chet Kincaid. Written by Joy Harjo. Lincoln, NE: Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium, 1989.
Distant Voices Thunder Words. With Marshall Jamison, Luis Peon Casanova, Lori Maas et al. VHS. Lincoln, NE: NETCHE, 1990.
Joy Harjo, Rick Burkard. VHS. "Interviews with Joy Harjo and Rick Burkard. Produced by Matthew Sneddon and Lawrence Rokosz. Albuquerque, NM: KNME-TV, 1990.
Women Working in Literature. VHS. Written and narrated by Kathleen Fraser. Produced by Laura Moriarty and directed by Jiri Veskrna. San Francisco, CA: Poetry Center/American Poetry Archives, 1991.
Where Poems Come From. VHS. Los Angeles, CA: Lannan Foundation, 1991.
Joy Harjo. VHS. "Interview with Joy Harjo." By Greg Sarris. Recorded February 2, 1996. Directed by Dan Griggs. Los Angeles, CA: The Lannan Foundation, 1996.
“Poetry Reading”. VHS. Tape 11 in Ethnicity and the Problem of Multicultural Identity, Where Do You Come From? Where Do You Go? A Native American Literature Conference. [Eugene, OR]: Knight Library IMC-ITV, 1997.
[Joy Harjo] [Wendy Rose]. VHS. Presentations taped as part of the Native American Literature Conference held at the University of Oregon May, 1997. Produced by Oregon Humanities Center in association with the Knight Library IMC-ITV, University of Oregon.
Rockin’ Warriors: A Film. VHS. Documentary with performances by Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice. Luxembourg: Lynx Productions, 1998. The Power of Ideas. Joy Harjo. VHS. Native American Voice. Episode no. 217. Norman, OK: Power of Ideas; [Boston]: American Public Television [distributor], 2001.
A Thousand Roads. With Scott Garen. VHS. Produced by Scott Garen and Barry Clark. Directed by Chris Eyre. [Washington, D.C.]: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 2005.
Joy Harjo: Poet, Writer and Musician. DVD. Taped November 15, 2007 at Spokane Community College, Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities.
Joy Harjo has narrated other video productions and contributed poems, short stories and essays to many books.