Tue, Nov 22|
Joy Harjo, Catching the Light and Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light
United States Poet Laureate and winner of the 2022 Academy of American Poets Leadership Award brings us her two new volumes, Catching the Light (Yale University Press) and Weaving Sundown (W.W. Norton). Joy will be in conversation with filmmaker & author Ramona Emerson
Date, Time & Location
Nov 22, 2022, 6:00 PM MST
About the Event
This event will be live streamed on Zoom only, please register to watch here.
In Catching the Light, Joy Harjo reflects on significant points of illumination, experience, and questioning from her fifty years as a poet. Composed of intimate vignettes that take us through the author’s life journey as a youth in the late 1960s, a single mother, and a champion of Native nations, this book offers a fresh understanding of how poetry functions as an expression of purpose, spirit, community, and memory—in both the private, individual journey and as a vehicle for prophetic, public witness. Harjo insists that the most meaningful poetry is birthed through cracks in history from what is broken and unseen. At the crossroads of this brokenness, she calls us to watch and listen for the songs of justice for all those America has denied. This is an homage to the power of words to defy erasure—to inscribe the story, again and again, of who we have been, who we are, and who we can be.
Weaving Sundown is a magnificent selection of fifty poems to celebrate three-term US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s fifty years as a poet. Over a long, influential career in poetry, Joy Harjo has been praised for her “warm, oracular voice” (John Freeman, Boston Globe) that speaks “from a deep and timeless source of compassion for all” (Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR). Her poems are musical, intimate, political, and wise, intertwining ancestral memory and tribal histories with resilience and love.
In this gemlike volume, Harjo selects her best poems from across fifty years, beginning with her early discoveries of her own voice and ending with moving reflections on our contemporary moment. Generous notes on each poem offer insight into Harjo’s inimitable poetics as she takes inspiration from Navajo horse songs and jazz, reckons with home and loss, and listens to the natural messengers of the earth. As evidenced in this transcendent collection, Joy Harjo’s “poetry is light and elixir, the very best prescription for us in wounded times” (Sandra Cisneros, Millions).
About the Authors
Joy Harjo, winner of the 2022 Academy of American Poets Leadership Award, is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the twenty-third Poet Laureate of the United States. Her previous books include Poet Warrior and An American Sunrise.
Ramona Emerson is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She received her degree in Media Arts in 1997 from the University of New Mexico and her MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) in 2015 from the Institute
of American Indian Arts. She has worked as a professional videographer, writer, and editor for over twenty-five years and is currently working on her 8 th film project, Crossing the Line. She is an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee and a WGBH Producer Fellow. In 2020, Ramona was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries for the State of New Mexico. Ramona just released her first novel, Shutter the first of a trilogy, which was published with SOHO Books in 2022 and recently longlisted for the National Book Award. Through her storytelling, Emerson looks at contemporary stories about her people and aims to question and redefine the expectations of Native cultural identity, highlighting stories that are not a part of mainstream media. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she and her husband/producer, Kelly Byars run their production company Reel Indian Pictures. You can purchase copies of Shutter online here.