Joy Harjo

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Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo.jpg
Harjo in 2012
Born May 9, 1951
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Occupation Author, poet, performer, educator
Nationality Mvskoke and American
Genre Poetry, non-fiction, fiction
Literary movement Native American Renaissance

Joy Harjo (born May 9, 1951) is a Mvskoke poet, musician, and author. She is often cited as playing a formidable role in the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln termed the Native American Renaissance of the late 20th century.


Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1951 and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, with partial Cherokee descent. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

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.

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. In 2008, she served as a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation,[2] for which she currently serves as a member of its National Advisory Council.[3]

Harjo joined the faculty of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January 2013.[4]




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


  • The American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award (1990)
  • Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, New York University: In Mad Love and War (1991)
  • Oakland PEN, Josephine Miles Poetry Award (1991)
  • William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America (1991)
  • American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation: In Mad Love and War (1991)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Benedictine College (1992)
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont (1993)
  • Witter Bynner Poetry Fellowship (1994)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of The Americas (1995)[1]
  • Oklahoma Book Award: The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1995)
  • Bravo Award from the Albuquerque Arts Alliance (1996)
  • Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Musical Artist of the Year: Poetic Justice (1997)
  • New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts (1997)
  • Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award for work with nonprofit group Atlatl in bringing literary resources to Native American communities (1998)
  • Finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award: Reinventing the Enemy's Language (1998)
  • National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships (1998)


  • Writer of the Year/children's books by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers for The Good Luck Cat (2001)
  • Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 (2003)
  • Arrell Gibson Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Oklahoma Center How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 (2003)
  • Storyteller of the Year Native Joy for Real by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. (2004)
  • Writer of the Year - Poetry How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 (2004)
  • Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers "Writer of the Year" for the script A Thousand Roads (2005)
  • United States Artists Rasmuson Fellows Award (2008)
  • Eagle Spirit Achievement Award (2009)
  • Nammy Native American Music Award (2009)
  • Mvskoke Women's Leadership Award (2011)
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2014)[5]


  • University of New Mexico Academy of American Poets Award.
  • Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award
  • Featured in Pushcart Prize Poetry Anthologies XV & XIII



  • I Give You Back
  • When the World As We Knew It Ended
  • The Last Song, Puerto Del Sol, 1975
  • What Moon Drove Me to This? I. Reed Books, 1979, ISBN 9780918408167
  • Remember, Strawberry Press, 1981
  • She Had Some Horses. Thunder's Mouth Press. 1983. ISBN 9781560251194. ; W. W. Norton & Company, 2008, ISBN 9780393334210
  • New Orleans (1983)
  • The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window (1983)
  • Secrets from the Center of the World. University of Arizona Press. 1989. ISBN 9780816511136. 
  • In Mad Love and War. Wesleyan University Press. 1990. ISBN 9780819511829. 
  • Fishing Ox Head Press, 1992
  • The Woman Who Fell From the Sky W.W. Norton, 1994, ISBN 9780393037159
  • A Map to the Next World W.W. Norton & Company, 2000, ISBN 9780393047905
  • How We Became Human New and Selected Poems: 1975 - 2001. W. W. Norton & Company. 2004. ISBN 9780393325348. 

As editor[edit]

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


  • Soul Talk, Song Language: Conversations with Joy Harjo. Wesleyan University Press. 2011. ISBN 9780819571519. 
  • Crazy Brave: A Memoir. W. W. Norton & Company. 2012. ISBN 9780393073461. 

Children's literature[edit]


Joy Harjo[edit]

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

Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice[edit]

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

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. ^ "New Group Is Formed to Sponsor Native Arts," New York Times. Accessed 5/14/14.
  3. ^ NACF National Leadership Council Members. Accessed 5/14/14.
  4. ^ "Current News, American Indian Studies Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign". Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ Joy Harjo - 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow


  • 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]