American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is delighted and proud to announce that Joy Harjo, internationally acclaimed poet and musician, will be joining the faculty in January, 2013.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her early work, including the breakthrough She Had Some Horses (1983), established Harjo as a prominent writer of contemporary American poetry and earned her international recognition.
"Joy Harjo is a leading poet of her generation and one of the most distinguished and accomplished artists in the American Indian world, so her appointment to the American Indian Studies faculty is a major milestone for our program and for Illinois as a university," said Professor Robert Warrior, Director of American Indian Studies. "Even more, her decision to join us in American Indian Studies confirms our commitment to developing the most innovative and excellent academic program in Indigenous studies in the Native world."
Harjo's most recent publication, Crazy Brave: A Memoir (2012), is a lyrical work that recounts her difficult childhood and how she was able to find her poetic voice. She is currently on a nationwide book tour for the memoir that has included appearances on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation program, at the National Book Fair in Washington, D.C., and at the Indian Summer Music Festival in Milwaukee.
Harjo's books of poetry include In Mad Love and War (1990), The Woman Who Fell from the Sky(1994), A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales (2001), and How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems: 1975-2001 (2002). Those books have garnered many awards, including the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the Western Literature Association's Distinguished Achievement Award.
"Joy Harjo's wide-ranging experiences as an award-winning poet, musician, and performer put her in a category all her own," said LeAnne Howe, professor of American Indian Studies, English, and Theatre. "Bringing such an extraordinary talent to the University of Illinois, benefits our students and our curriculum in exciting new ways."
In addition to her poetry, Harjo has released four full-length CDs and was awarded a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year (2009) for Winding Through the Milky Way. Harjo also has released two children’s/coming of age books: The Good Luck Cat (2000) and For a Girl Becoming (2009).
A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the University of New Mexico, and the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, Harjo has previously taught at the University of Arizona, University of New Mexico, and UCLA. At Illinois, Harjo will teach undergraduate and graduate level courses.