Joy Harjo

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Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo.jpg
Born May 9, 1951
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Occupation Author, poet, performer, educator
Nationality Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Genres Poetry, non-fiction, fiction
Literary movement Native American Renaissance

Joy Harjo (born May 9, 1951) is a Native American poet, musician, and author. She is often cited as playing a formidable role in the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has coined the Native American Renaissance.


Known primarily as a poet, Harjo has also taught at the college level, played alto saxophone with a band called Poetic Justice, edited literary journals, and written screenplays.

Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and is of Cherokee descent. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

In 1995, Harjo received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.[1]

In 2002, Harjo received the PEN Open Book Award, formerly known as the Beyond Margins Award for A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales

Harjo joined the faculty of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January 2013.[2]



As editor[edit]

  • Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America, W.W. Norton & Company, 1998, ISBN 9780393318289


Children's literature[edit]


Joy Harjo[edit]

  • Red Dreams: A Trail Beyond Tears (2010)
  • Winding Through the Milky Way (2008)
  • She Had Some Horses (2006)
  • Native Joy for Real (2004)

Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice[edit]

  • Letter From the End of the Twentieth Century (1997)



  • Mvskoke Women's Leadership Award (2011)
  • Nammy Native American Music Award (2009)
  • Eagle Spirit Achievement Award (2009)
  • United States Artists Rasmuson Fellows Award (2008)
  • Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers "Writer of the Year" for the script A Thousand Roads (2005)
  • Writer of the Year - Poetry How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 (2004)
  • Storyteller of the Year Native Joy for Real by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. (2004)
  • Arrell Gibson Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Oklahoma Center How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 (2003)
  • Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 (2003)
  • Writer of the Year/children's books by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers for The Good Luck Cat (2001)


  • National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships (1998)
  • Finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award: Reinventing the Enemy's Language (1998)
  • Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award for work with nonprofit group Atlatl in bringing literary resources to Native American communities (1998)
  • New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts (1997)
  • Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Musical Artist of the Year: Poetic Justice (1997)
  • Bravo Award from the Albuquerque Arts Alliance (1996)
  • Oklahoma Book Award: The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1995)
  • Witter Bynner Poetry Fellowship (1994)
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont (1993)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Benedictine College (1992)
  • American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation: In Mad Love and War (1991)
  • William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America (1991)
  • Oakland PEN, Josephine Miles Poetry Award (1991)
  • Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, New York University: In Mad Love and War (1991)
  • The American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award (1990)


  • Arizona Commission on the Arts Poetry Fellowship (1989)
  • NEH Summer Stipend in American Indian Literature and Verbal Arts, University of Arizona (1987)
  • New Mexico Music Awards (1987)
  • Outstanding Young Women of America (1984)
  • 1st Place in Poetry in the Santa Fe Festival of the Arts (1980)



  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of The Americas, 1995.[1]
  • University of New Mexico Academy of American Poets Award.
  • Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award
  • Featured in Pushcart Prize Poetry Anthologies XV & XIII

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lifetime Achievemenet Awards from the Native Writers Circle of America". Storytellers: Native American Authors Online ( Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  2. ^ "Current News, American Indian Studies Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign". Retrieved September 29, 2012. 


  • Bochynski, Pegge. Review of "How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems: 1975-2001 by Joy Harjo". Magill's Literary Annual, 2003. Ed. John D. Wilson and Steven G. Kellman. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2003. Pages 379-383.
  • "Joy Harjo" by Pegge Bochynski, in American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies, Supplement XII edited by Jay Parini. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. Pages 215-234.
  • “She Had Some Horses” by Pegge Bochynski in Masterplots II, Poetry, Revised edition. Ed. Philip K. Jason. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2002. Pages 3369-3371.
  • Stone, Louise M. Update and revision by Pegge Bochynski. “Joy Harjo” in Magill Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition. Ed. Steven G. Kellman. Pasadena, Calif. Salem Press, 2006. Pages 980-988.

External links[edit]

External video
Joy Harjo performs at the 2014 Split This Rock Poetry Festival, March 27, 2014