Joy Harjo

Class of
Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo

Wherever I go in my widely-traveled story the path always connects back to here, to Oklahoma. It is my beginning place and where I will rest when this chapter is done.
Joy Harjo, 2022


Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Mvskoke Nation and the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States—the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate in history and only the second poet to be appointed to three terms. Born in Tulsa, she left home to attend high school at the Institute of American Indian Arts and began writing poetry with the University of New Mexico’s Native student organization, the Kiva Club. She earned her Masters of Fine Arts Degree at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Harjo is the author of nine books of poetry, including American Sunrise, an Oklahoma Book Award winner, and Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, which was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. She has published award-winning children’s books, plays, screenplays, anthologies, and two memoirs. Her first memoir Crazy Brave earned her the PEN USA Literary Award and the American Book Award. Her highly-acclaimed Poet Warrior was released in 2021.  

As a musician and performer, Harjo has produced seven award-winning music albums including Winding Through the Milky Way, earning her a NAMMY for Best Female Artist of the Year, and I Pray for My Enemies, her most recent.

Harjo’s honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, and NEA, Tulsa Artist, and Guggenheim fellowships. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, board chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and the first artist-in-residence at the new Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa.

Fun fact

Joy Harjo had an asteroid named after her in 2022.

Oklahoma connections

I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at St. John's Hospital. I am an enrolled member of the Mvskoke or Muscogee Creek Nation, the first artist-in-residence for the Bob Dylan Center, a member of Hickory Ground Ceremonial Grounds.


Tulsa, Mvskoke Creek Nation Reservation


Writer, Musician


Chief David W. Hill




Relevant Exhibits

this universe is you

this universe is you

Featuring the artwork of five contemporary Indigenous women of Oklahoma, this exhibit focuses on themes of history, memory and identity.