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Word Works | Joy Harjo: Our Songs Came Through

April 23 at 6:00 PM

Joy Harjo

In a special craft conversation with Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, award-winning writer and US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will discuss the writing techniques that have helped her create a beloved body of work that includes nine books of poems, two children’s books, three plays, and more, and which Sandra Cisneros calls “light and elixir, the very best prescription for us in wounded times.”

All Word Works events this season will take place online. Tickets cost $15 general admission, $12 for members. We also have a $5 option for students or anyone who is financially disadvantaged. Tickets can be purchased at the bottom of the page.

This event will take place via CrowdCast, Pacific Time.

For tickets to all six Word Works events, purchase a series pass here.

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and was named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019. The author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and a memoir, Crazy Brave, her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Writers’ Award, a Rasmuson US Artist Fellowship, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit

Don’t bother the earth spirit who lives here. She is working on a story. It is the oldest story in the world and it is delicate, changing. If she sees you watching she will invite you in for coffee, give you warm bread, and you will be obligated to stay and listen. But this is no ordinary story. You will have to endure earthquakes, lightning, the deaths of all those you love, the most blinding beauty. It’s a story so compelling you may never want to leave; this is how she traps you. See that stone finger over there? That is the only one who ever escaped.

―Joy Harjo, from Secrets from the Center of the World

Claudia Castro LunaClaudia Castro Luna is Washington State Poet Laureate (2018–2021), and she served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet (2015–2017). The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, she is the author of Killing Marías, finalist for the Washington State Book Award 2018; This City; and One River, a Thousand Voices. Born in El Salvador, she came to the United States in 1981. Her nonfiction has appeared in the anthologies This is the Place and Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative.

Word Works craft talks by novelists, essayists, poets, and memoirists focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work. These talks are designed to apply to writers of all genres as well as illuminate well-known works for avid readers. The talks are followed by an interview with a noted editor, writer, or critic.


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$ 5.00
General Admission
$ 15.00
$ 12.00