Harjo, Joy (1951–)
Harjo, Joy (1951–)
Native American poet and musician. Born Joy Harjo Foster, May 9, 1951, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, of Muscogee Creek, Cherokee, French and Irish ancestry; dau. of Allen W. Foster and Wynema Baker Foster; at 19, took name of maternal grandmother Naomi Harjo; University of New Mexico, Institute of American Indian Arts, BA, 1976; Iowa Writers' Workshop, MFA, 1978; attended College of Santa Fe, 1982; children: Phil and Rainy Dawn.
Poet who draws on Native American history, mythology and contemporary culture, began publishing in feminist journals including Conditions; taught at Institute of American Indian Arts, Arizona State University, University of New Mexico, University of Colorado, University of Hawaii and University of California at Los Angeles; took up saxophone and formed the band, Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice, recording Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century (1997); as solo artist, recorded Native Joy For Real (2004); served as consultant for Native American Public Broadcasting and National Indian Youth Council and as director of National Association of Third World Writers; worked as editor of High Plains Literary Review,Contact II, and Tyuonyi; poetry collections include The Last Song (1975), What Moon Drove Me to This (1979), She Had Some Horses (1983), Secrets from the Center of the World (1989), In Mad Love and War (1990), The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994), A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales (2000) and How We Became Human (2002); wrote screenplays Origin of Apache Crown Dance (1985) and The Beginning. Received Lifetime Achievement Award from Native Writer's Circle of Americas, American Book Award and Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for In Mad Love and War, Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award, American Indian Distinguished Achievement Award, Josephine Miles Award and Academy of American Poetry Award.
See also Laura Coltelli and Joy Harjo, The Spiral of Memory: Interviews (U. of Michigan Press, 1996).