March 30, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Poet, performer, writer and musician Joy Harjo will speak at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the English Department at Amherst College, Harjo’s performance is free and open to the public. Refreshments will follow.

A member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, Harjo has published seven books of poetry, among them She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (1994) and her most recent, How We Became Human, New and Selected Poems (2002). She co-edited an anthology of contemporary Native women’s writing: Reinventing the Enemy’s Language, Native Women’s Writing of North America (1997), one of the London Observer’s Best Books of 1997; and wrote the award-winning children’s book The Good Luck Cat (2000). She also provided poetic prose to accompany Stephen Strom’s photographs in Secrets from the Center of the World (1989). A book of stories is forthcoming.

In 1997 Harjo released her first musical recording, Letter from the End of the 20th Century, which Pulse Magazine called the “best dub poetry album recorded in North America.” She co-produced the album and is featured as poet and saxophone player. Her new CD of original songs is Native Joy for Real.

Harjo is the Joseph M. Russo Professor of Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico and has served on the National Council on the Arts. When not teaching and performing she lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she is a member of the Hui Nalu Canoe Club.

Her poetry has won many awards, among them the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award; Oklahoma Book Awards, 2003; The American Indian Festival of Words Author Award from the Tulsa City County Library; the 2000 Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award; 1998 Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, the 1997 New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.