Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo, the newly crowned US Poet Laureate

We’re thrilled to welcome poet Joy Harjo in our ongoing Chautauqua tradition of bringing diverse voices to our community. Ms. Harjo, a Creek Indian and student of First Nation history, will share her poetry at an April 20, 2020 event in Medford, OR and will also meet with local high school students in two small group chats.


Upon receiving the Wallace Stevens award from the Academy of American Poets in 2015, Chancellor Alicia Ostiker said of Ms. Harjo,

“Throughout her extraordinary career as a poet, storyteller, musician, memoirist, playwright and activist, Joy Harjo has worked to expand our American language, culture, and soul. Harjo is rooted simultaneously in the natural world — especially the landscape of the American southwest — and in the spirit world. Aided by these redemptive forces of nature and spirit, incorporating native traditions of prayer and myth into a powerfully contemporary idiom, her visionary, justice-seeking art transforms personal and collective bitterness to beauty, fragmentation to wholeness, and trauma to healing.”

And whom do I call my enemy? An enemy must be worthy of engagement

I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking

It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.

The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.

It sees and knows everything.

It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.

The door to the mind should only open from the heart.

An enemy who gets in risks the danger of becoming a friend.

– Joy Harjo. This Morning I Pray for my Enemies

Learn more about Joy Harjo at the Poetry Foundation

Tickets will be made available in Spring 2020.

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