How Joy Harjo Realized Poetry Was Her Calling | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network


-So you grew up during the ’50s and ’60s, not really a time when women, and certainly not a time when Native Americans had role models in poetry, as a life path. -I read you said this about your calling, that ‘It was the spirit of poetry who reached out and found me as I stood there at the doorway between panic and love, when did you know that poetry was your way in? -That was a shock, just like being named the US Poet Laureate because I was into painting and art like my grandmother, my Aunt Lois Harjo and the idea of speaking in public or even writing my voice down was horrifying. My stepfather stole my journal and started reading passages out, and I decided I would never write. I would not write anything down. But I was a student at The University of New Mexico, we were involved in Native rights movements and human rights and there was women rights, and at the same time I was starting to– I realized later I was having a breakdown but I did not have the luxury of having a breakdown, because I had two young children and there would’ve been no one, I had been banished from my home for speaking the truth. So I had to walk through it. And it was around that time I was listening to– there were all of these multicultural poetry gatherings and I was listening to poetry of Native– and it was the first time I heard Native poets and I thought, well, we can write about our lives and they can be in poetry and I loved poetry before that but it switched to something that was something I admired from a distance to something that was something that I could participate in.

3 thoughts on “How Joy Harjo Realized Poetry Was Her Calling | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

  1. Joy Harjo’s “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” is a healing text. I return to it many times when I feel scattered inside.

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