Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joy Harjo  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult; Children;


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Illinois Connection

Harjo taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign from 2013 to 2016, and was connected to the university's American Indian Studies Program.

Biographical and Professional Information

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee Creek Nation. In 2019, she was named the 23rd United States Poet Laureate. She currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Fund Writers Award,

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes.

Selected Titles At Your Library

A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales

Norton. .

In her fifth book, Joy Harjo, one of our foremost Native American voices, melds memories, dream visions, myths, and stories from America’s brutal history into a poetic whole.

An American Sunrise: Poems
ISBN: 1324003863. OCLC Number: 1084432549

Norton. .

In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family's lands and opens a dialogue with history ... Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother's death, to her beginnings in the Native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo's personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. --

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems
ISBN: 039335363X. OCLC Number: 902661367

Norton. .

In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human. Beginning in a hotel room in the dark of a distant city, we travel through history and follow the memory of the Trail of Tears from the bend in the Tallapoosa River to a place near the Arkansas River. Stomp dance songs, blues, and jazz ballads echo throughout. Lost ancestors are recalled. Resilient songs are born, even as they grieve the loss of their country.

Crazy Brave: A Memoir

Norton. .

In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a haunting, visionary memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice. 12 photographs

For a Girl Becoming
ISBN: 0816527970. OCLC Number: 316232857

University of Arizona Press. .

Transformative moments in the cycle of life are a time for acknowledgment, a chance to guide a child’s path in a positive and loving direction. Swirling images laden with both myth and personal meaning illustrate this unique, poetic tale of the joys and lessons of a girl’s journey through birth, youth, and finally adulthood. Within these colorful pages, family and community come together in celebration of her arrival, offering praise, love, and advice to help carry her forward through the many milestones to come, and reminding her always of how deeply she is cherished. It is a reminder, too, of our abiding connections to the natural world, and the cyclical nature of life as a whole. With its rich, symbolic artwork and captivating language, For a Girl Becoming is the perfect gift to recognize a birth, graduation, or any other significant moment in a young woman’s life. Not only for children, this lively and touching story speaks to that part in each of us who still stands at the door of becoming. -- Publisher's description

How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001
ISBN: 0393325342. OCLC Number: 149089703

W.W. Norton & Co.,. .

This collection gathers poems from throughout Joy Harjo's twenty-eight-year career, beginning in 1973 in the age marked by the takeover at Wounded Knee and the rejuvenation of indigenous cultures in the world through poetry and music. How We Became Human explores its title question in poems of sustaining grace.--Publisher description.

In Mad Love and War
ISBN: 081951182X. OCLC Number: 19739462

Wesleyan. .

Secrets from the Center of the World
ISBN: 0816511136. OCLC Number: 19128720

University of Arizona Press. .

This is Navajo country, a land of mysterious and delicate beauty. 'Stephen Strom's photographs lead you to that place,' writes Joy Harjo. 'The camera eye becomes a space you can move through into the powerful landscapes that he photographs. The horizon may shift and change all around you, but underneath it is the heart with which we move.' Harjo's prose poems accompany these images, interpreting each photograph as a story that evokes the spirit of the Earth. Images and words harmonize to evoke the mysteries of what the Navajo call the center of the world. -- Publisher's website

She Had Some Horses: Poems
ISBN: 039333421X. OCLC Number: 227016658

Norton. .

A new edition of the beloved volume by Joy Harjo, one of our foremost Native American poets. First published in 1983 and now considered a classic, She Had Some Horses is a powerful exploration of womanhood's most intimate moments. Joy Harjo's poems speak of women's despair, of their imprisonment and ruin at the hands of men and society, but also of their awakenings, power, and love. -- Publisher's description

Soul Talk, Song Language: Conversations with Joy Harjo
ISBN: 0819571504. OCLC Number: 759114754

Wesleyan University Press,. .

Intimate and illuminating conversations with one of America's foremost Native artists.

The Good Luck Cat
ISBN: 0152321977. OCLC Number: 39007078

Harcourt. .

Because her good luck cat Woogie has already used up eight of his nine lives in narrow escapes from disaster, a Native American girl worries when he disappears.

The Spiral of Memory: Interviews
ISBN: 0472095811. OCLC Number: 33208394

University of Michigan Press,. .

The Spiral of Memory gathers the conversations in which Harjo has articulated her singular yet universal perspective on the world and her poetry. She reflects upon the nuances and development of her art, the importance of her origins, the arduous reconstruction of the tribal past, the dramatic confrontation between Native American and Anglo civilizations, and other provocative and profoundly human themes--Back cover.

The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems
ISBN: 0393037150. OCLC Number: 34722791

Norton. .

A collection of twenty-four poems, centering on women, American culture, and Native American traditions.

What Moon Drove Me to This?
ISBN: 0918408164. OCLC Number: 5867314

I. Reed Books,. .