UM to Welcome First Native American U.S. Poet Laureate

September 11, 2019

Joy Harjo, 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate MISSOULA – The University of Montana will host a poetry reading by 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, who also is the first Native American to hold the position, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23.

The reading, hosted by UM’s Department of Native American Studies, will take place in the A.L.I. Auditorium of the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education, with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Harjo’s nine books of poetry include “An American Sunrise,” “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,” “How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems” and “She Had Some Horses.” Her memoir, “Crazy Brave,” has won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award.

Harjo has received the 2019 Jackson Prize from the Poetry Society of America, 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 member of the Muscogee/Creek Nation and was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame in 2014.

A renowned musician, Harjo has performed saxophone both nationally and internationally solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. Her five albums of poetry and music also have won multiple awards.

Read more about Harjo at


Contact: Kate Shanley, UM Department of Native American Studies, 406-243-5831,