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US poet Joy Harjo to bring storytelling magic to Wellington


11 August 2011

US poet Joy Harjo to bring storytelling magic to Wellington

Renowned US poet Joy Harjo is being brought to Wellington by Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) this month.

She will lead a masterclass for the IIML’s MA students and give two public presentations.

“Joy Harjo is a brilliant performer whose poetry blends a storytelling tradition with song, and draws from the American tradition of praising the land and the spirit,” says Professor Bill Manhire, Director of the IIML.

“We are excited to be hosting her very first visit to New Zealand—especially as Joy was a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop along with the IIML’s founder, Glenn Schaeffer.”

Of Muskogee Creek heritage, Ms Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her seven books of poetry, including How We Became Human-New and Selected Poems, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horses have garnered numerous awards. These include 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. For A Girl Becoming, a young adult/coming of age book, was released in 2009 and is Ms Harjo’s most recent publication.

She has released four award-winning CDs of original music and in 2009 won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year for Winding Through the Milky Way.

Her most recent CD release is a traditional flute album: Red Dreams, a Trail Beyond Tears. She performs in the US and internationally with her band, the Arrow Dynamics.

She received a Rasmusson: US Artists Fellowship in 2008 and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

More information can be found on her official website

Public presentations:
Joy Harjo will participate in two public events during her visit. Details are below.

Writers on Monday, chaired by Patricia Grace
Where: Te Papa Marae, 4th Floor, Te Papa
When: 12.15-1.15pm, 15 August

Presentation and performance
Where: Rutherford House Lecture Theatre 1
When: 7-8.30pm, 16 August

Both events are free and open to the public.


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