OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation wants to celebrate Joy Harjo’s tenure as a three term 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate by a celebratory gathering just west of the Mound Building on the evening of August 26.
Harjo’s final term ended in April with a celebration from the Library of Congress that showcased her best work and even included a dance party.
According to Program Manager with the MCN Cultural Center and Archives ShaVon Agee, the MCN wanted to host a celebration for Harjo that somewhat replicated the celebration from the Library of Congress that was held on April 29.
Attendees may have the chance to meet Harjo but according to Agee, there is no plan for her to perform or sign autographs. The department is leaving the decision at her discretion.
The event will include a silent auction that will benefit the Joy Harjo Scholarship, dancing with music from DJ Werewolf, 20 arts and crafts vendors, and hor d’oeuvers made by Rez-Served that will include traditional and cultural recipes.
Michael Taylor will play saxophone for an opening performance starting at 7 p.m.
Harjo is the second Poet Laureate in history to be offered a third term which was appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
Born on the Muscogee Reservation in Tvlse (Tulsa), Harjo is an enrolled tribal member and belongs to Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground). The award winning author has a long list of works that includes kids books, poetry, plays, screenplays, publishing, and many more roles of a writer and artist.
Harjo’s awards for poetry include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, a PEN USA Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Writers’ Award, the Poets & Writers Jackson Poetry Prize, a Rasmuson US Artist Fellowship, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
The Library Congress has turned her signature project as the Poet Laureate in an audio collection; the anthology When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through — A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry and the editor of Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, the accompanying anthology to her signature project.
She has produced seven award-winning albums with her talented hand and also performs with the saxophone and flute touring across the world with her band and solo.
Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship, directs For Girls Becoming, an arts mentorship program for young Mvskoke women, and is a founding board member and Chair of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She has recently been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Philosophical Society, the National Native American Hall of Fame, and the National Woman’s Hall of Fame.
Currently, Harjo lives in her hometown of Tulsa where she is the Artist-in-Residence of the Bob Dylan Center.