Today—May 9—is the birthday of an Oklahoma writer we like, Joy Harjo. Harjo, a Tulsa native and member of the Muscogee tribe, is the author of numerous books of poetry, including She Had Some Horses, Secrets from the Center of the World, and In Mad Love and War.
We first came across Harjo and her writing some years ago on Bill Moyer's PBS series on American poets. We met Harjo in person a few years later when she was honored with an award from the Tulsa City-County Library, where she read her poems and played her saxophone. Both performances were inspiring.
On her birthday, we're recommending a Harjo poem called "Autobiography." In it, Harjo recounts her coming of age in Oklahoma (and elsewhere) in haunting language, recalling her family, her history, her people, her place. "Nothing can be forgotten, only left behind," Harjo writes.
Happy birthday, Joy Harjo. Thanks for your poems.