Joy Harjo

San Miguel Writers Conference Joy Harjo

Photo by Karen Kuehn

(All Keynote events are included in conference registration.
Individual tickets available HERE.)

Keynote Address

Soul Talk, Song Language

Friday, February 17, 6 PM
Real de Minas Ballroom, San Miguel de Allende


Sunday, February 19, 1:00PM: Panel with other authors.

“I believe that writing poetry is singing the dreaming language of the soul. Learning craft, knowing your poetry ancestors, and having a sense of the social and political landscape of your culture(s) — and the world culture — is crucial to the process of making poetry. That is, you need knowledge of aerodynamics to provide the lift, or you learn to do so by dreaming. Whatever the means, the poem will not fly without sound structure or a soul.”

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her seven books of poetry have garnered many awards including 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 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her poetry collections include such well-known titles as How We Became Human, New and Selected Poems, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horses.

Harjo has also released four award-winning CD’s of original music. In 2009, she won the Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year for her song, Winding Through the Milky Way. Her most recent CD release is a traditional flute album, Red Dreams, a Trail Beyond Tears.

Harjo performs nationally and internationally with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She also performs her one-woman show, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, which premiered at the Wells Fargo Theater in Los Angeles in 2009 and played recent performances at the Public Theater in NYC and the La Jolla Playhouse as part of the Native Voices at the Autry.

She was recently awarded 2011 Artist of the Year from the Mvskoke Women’s Leadership Initiative, has received a Rasmuson US Artists Fellowship, and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Harjo writes a column, “Comings and Goings,” for her tribal newspaper, the Muscogee Nation News.

Forthcoming from Harjo is Soul Talk, Song Language, a book of essays, columns, interviews, and photographs from Wesleyan University Press (October 2011) , and Crazy Brave, a memoir from W.W. Norton in 2012. Her one-woman show has been accepted for production at the Public Theater in New York, and her next play, I Think I Love You: An All Night Round Dance is being commissioned by the Public Theater.

For A Girl Becoming, a young adult/coming of age book, was released in 2009 and is Harjo’s most recent publication. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.