Joy Harjo - "Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry" - Layli Long Soldier

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo will discuss Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry. She will be joined in conversation by Layli Long Soldier.

Presented in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival

Virtual event

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About the book: Joy Harjo, the first Native poet to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate, has championed the voices of Native peoples past and present. Her signature laureate project gathers the work of contemporary Native poets into a national, fully digital map of story, sound, and space, celebrating their vital and unequivocal contributions to American poetry. This companion anthology features each poem and poet from the project—including Natalie Diaz, Ray Young Bear, Craig Santos Perez, Sherwin Bitsui, and Layli Long Soldier, among others—to offer readers a chance to hold the wealth of poems in their hands. The chosen poems reflect on the theme of place and displacement and circle the touchpoints of visibility, persistence, resistance, and acknowledgment. Each poem showcases, as Joy Harjo writes in her stirring introduction, “that heritage is a living thing, and there can be no heritage without land and the relationships that outline our kinship.” In this country, poetry is rooted in the more than five hundred living indigenous nations. Living Nations, Living Words is a representative offering.

About the author: Joy Harjo’s nine books of poetry include An American Sunrise, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She co-edited two anthologies of contemporary Native women’s writing: When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through and Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Native Women’s Writing of North America, one of the London Observer’s Best Books of 1997. She is the recipient of the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music including the award-winning album Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears, and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. Harjo’s latest book is Living Nations, Living Words. In 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position.

About the interlocutor: Layli Long Soldier earned a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA with honors from Bard College. She is the author of the chapbook Chromosomory (2010) and the full-length collection Whereas (2017), which won the National Books Critics Circle award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has been a contributing editor to Drunken Boat and poetry editor at Kore Press; in 2012, her participatory installation, Whereas We Respond, was featured on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In 2015, Long Soldier was awarded a National Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry. She was awarded a Whiting Writer’s Award in 2016. Long Soldier is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Event Location: 
Virtual