U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to Speak at A-State, Sept. 26

JONESBORO – U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will discuss her craft during the opening presentation of Arkansas State University’s 2019-20 Lecture-Concert Series, Thursday, Sept. 26.

She will speak at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Reng Student Union.  Admission is free.

On June 19, Harjo became the first Native American to be named U.S. Poet Laureate. Her work draws on First Nation storytelling and histories, as well as feminist and social justice poetic traditions.

“Harjo is a walking tour de force. She is a voice of the Muscogee. She’s a voice of Oklahoma. She’s a voice of women, mothers, Midwestern MFA poets, and the oppressed,” said Dr. J. Justin Castro, associate professor and chair of the Department of History.  “But she is more than that. She’s a medium, a song between the ghosts of history and apparitions of the future. Her writing is sometimes gritty and often powerful, but more than anything else it is deeply empathetic and human. It’s an honor to have such a gifted and historic figure speak on the A-State campus.”

Harjo once commented, “I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors, to my home country, to all places that I touch down on and that are myself, to all voices, all women, all of my tribe, all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings. In a strange kind of sense [writing] frees me to believe in myself, to be able to speak, to have voice, because I have to; it is my survival.”

She is deeply grounded in her ancestry, an activist on indigenous people’s rights, a musician, and an engaging speaker.

Her appearance at A-State is presented with additional funding support from the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, the Department of English, Philosophy and World Languages, and the ASU System Foundation, Inc.

The Lecture-Concert Series serves Arkansas State and the surrounding communities by bringing notable guest speakers and performers of diverse backgrounds and wide appeal to the campus.

For more details about the series, interested individuals may visit the Lecture-Concert Series website.

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