Joy Harjo (Muscogee) was appointed as the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position and only the second person to serve three terms in the role (2019-2022). Harjo’s nine books of poetry include Weaving Sundown in a Scarlett Light, An American Sunrise, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. She is also the author of two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior, which invite us to travel alongside the heartaches, losses, and humble realizations of her “poet-warrior” road. She has edited several anthologies of Native American writing, including When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through — A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, and Living Nations, Living Words, the companion anthology to her signature poet laureate project. Her many writing awards include the 2022 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers, the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and artist-in-residence at the Bob Dylan Center. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally; her most recent album is I Pray For My Enemies. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Join us for a conversation with Joy Harjo, the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, curator of The Land Carries Our Ancestors, about the exhibition theme of reverence, study, and concern for the land. Harjo's poem "Once the World Was Perfect" from her 2015 book Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings is featured in The Land Carries Our Ancestors catalog. Molly Donovan, curator of contemporary art and exhibition coordinating curator, will introduce the conversation.
About the Presenters
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation) is an artist, teacher, activist and curator. In her artistic practice, Smith makes paintings, works on paper, and sculptures that represent the entwined construction of Native American and American identity through a complex system of everyday objects and visual codes. Her art invites close readings that challenge the damaging stereotypes of Native Americans embedded in the cultural signs and histories of America from the past and present, with a view toward the future. Smith has curated over 30 exhibitions of her fellow Native American artists, tenaciously organizing and supporting their work to write a Native American art history. She received an Associate of Arts Degree at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington, a BA in Art Education from Framingham State College, Massachusetts, and an MA in Visual Arts from the University of New Mexico. A touring retrospective of Smith’s work, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, appears after its New York debut at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (October 15, 2023-January 21, 2024), and the Seattle Art Museum (February 29 – May 12, 2024). Two of her works are in the collection of the National Gallery of Art: Target (1992) and Adios Map (2021).
Made possible by a grant from the Alice L. Walton Foundation.