REDCAT and the CalArts MFA in Creative Writing are proud to present Joy Harjo. Serving her third term as the U.S. Poet Laureate, and author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior: A Call for Love and Justice, Joy Harjo’s approach to writing as inseparable from orality, memory, culture and performance invigorates her creation of an ever-unfolding cross-genre literary form. Her acclaimed writings map a rich cosmology, where time, body, heart and knowing shape her compassionate dedication to a poetics that empowers Native American voices in tribal history, struggle and everyday life. Her national bestseller, An American Sunrise, threads her personal experiences and tribal histories to reflect on the blessings of her homeland and confront the site where the Mvskoke people, including her own ancestors, were forcibly displaced. As she makes clear in her poem, “Break My Heart,”: “Baby, baby, baby/You can’t say what’s been said/Before, though even words/Are creatures of habit,” holding space for recuperation and new beginnings insists on the inimitable power of vulnerability, rooted in resistance, in land and love, wisdom she is celebrated for.
To her, poems are ‘carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,’ and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.
Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden
The Katie Jacobson Writer in Residence is made possible by a generous donation from the Jacobson Family.