Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Like a few other contemporary Native American poets such as N. Scott Momaday, Simon Ortiz, and Leslie Marmon Silko, Harjo writes in an effort to re-establish lost connections: with the sacred land, with powerful ancestors, and with fellow searchers along the margins of contemporary life. She is a noted teacher, saxophonist, and vocalist. She performed for many years with her band, Poetic Justice, and currently tours with Arrow Dynamics. She was named U.S. poet laureate in June 2019.
More By This Poet
Once the World Was Perfect
Once the world was perfect, and we were happy in that world.
Then we took it for granted.
Discontent began a small rumble in the earthly mind.
Then Doubt pushed through with its spiked head.
And once Doubt ruptured the web,
All manner of demon...
Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit
Don’t bother the earth spirit who lives here. She is working on a story. It is the oldest story in the world and it is delicate, changing. If she sees you watching she will invite you in for coffee, give...
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound...
Perhaps the World Ends Here
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or...