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U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will read from her new poetry collection Weaving Sundown in Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years, followed by an on-stage conversation with Lupe Mendez, 2022 Texas Poet Laureate. The evening will conclude with a book sale and signing.
JOY HARJO is the first Native American to hold the position of U.S. Poet Laureate. She is the author of nine books of poetry, including An American Sunrise, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. About Harjo’s oeuvre, the judges citation for the Jackson Prize reads, “Throughout her luminous and substantial body of work, there is a sense of timelessness, of ongoingness, of history repeating; these are poems that hold us up to the truth and insist we pay attention.” Harjo has also written two memoirs Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior and two children’s books, recorded seven albums, and created a one-woman show. Her many awards include the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction, the American Book Award, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.
She joins us to read from and talk about her new poetry collection Weaving Sundown in Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years, a selection of poems that begins with early discoveries of her own voice and ends with moving reflections on our contemporary moment. Taking inspiration from Navajo horse songs and jazz, reckoning with home and loss, and listening to the natural messengers of the earth, Harjo’s new book is said to be “light and elixir, the very best prescription for us in wounded times” (Sandra Cisneros). Harjo is the Board Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation and artist-in-residence for the Bob Dylan Center. She is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and lives in Tulsa. To check out her signature poet laureate project highlighting 47 Native Nations poets, click here.
LUPE MENDEZ is the 2022 Texas Poet Laureate and the author WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA, winner of the 2019 John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. He is the founder of Tintero Projects which works with emerging Latinx writers and other writers of color within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. Mendez earned his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at El Paso and his work can be seen in print and online formats including the Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast Journal, the Texas Review, the L.A. Review of Books, Split This Rock, Poetry Magazine and Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets.