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A KSUT conversation with writer, musician, and Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo
Photo by Karen Kuehn
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Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is serving her third term as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States.

Joy Harjo is America’s 23rd Poet Laureate and in her third term in that position. She’s a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and has been writing, teaching, and performing music for more than 40 years. She’s the author of nine books of poetry and seven music albums, including her latest “I Pray For My Enemies.” Joy Harjo talked to KSUT Tribal Radio’s Crystal Ashike recently about her work, the pandemic, and being fearless for beauty.

Interview highlights:
• Harjo started writing poetry while active in a Native student club at the University of New Mexico as a way to "speak out about what was going on, and especially with women." She was influenced by learning the Navajo language, living in the southwest, and the work of other Native American poets.

• She talks about her latest album I Pray for My Enemies, a collaboration with producer/engineer and ethnomusicologist Barrett Martin, featuring well known rock guitarists.

• On the pandemic, "I remember looking outside the window, and it was just quiet. It took so many of the culture bearers of our Muskogee Creek Nation. We lost so many people like the roots, you know, the oldest roots, some of the deep roots."

Harjo brings a fresh identity to the poetry and songs that have made her a renowned poet of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and one of the most authentic and compelling voices of these times.

Listen to the interview for the complete conversation.

Joy Harjo with flute and horse
photo by Karen Kuehn
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Crystal is the digital content manager for KSUT Tribal Radio.
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