UNCP to host virtual event featuring U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will appear as UNC Pembroke’s final guest in the 2019-20 Distinguished Speaker Series.

The talk will be held virtually on September 1, beginning at 7 p.m. The event can be viewed at uncp.edu/dss

Harjo is a musician and activist and was appointed by the librarian of Congress to become the U.S. poet laureate. She is the first Native American poet laureate in the history of the position.

“We are so happy to have the opportunity to present Ms. Harjo virtually to BraveNation. We are also happy to have an arrangement with UNCW to share the presentation with their students. We would rather have Ms. Harjo visit our campus but we know, even virtually, her presentation will be riveting and exceptional,” said Abdul Ghaffar, director of Campus Engagement and Leadership.

Over the course of the one-year term, which lasts from September to May, the U.S. poet laureate presents a reading and lecture at the Library of Congress and often engages in a community-oriented poetry project with national reach. 

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1951, Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She is the author of several books of poetry, including An American Sunrise, Crazy Brave and Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems.

She is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Also a performer, Harjo plays saxophone and flutes with the Arrow Dynamics Band and previously with the band Poetic Justice. She has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam in venues across the U.S. and internationally and has released four award-winning albums. In 2009, she won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year.

Harjo’s event is co-sponsored by UNC Pembroke’s American Indian Studies, Department of English, Theatre and Foreign Languages and the Office for Regional Initiatives.

The Distinguished Speaker Series is hosted by Campus Engagement and Leadership and Givens Performing Arts Center.

For more information about this event and the Distinguished Speaker Series, visit uncp.edu/dss.