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Joy Harjo (Joy Foster Harjo) Biography

(1951– ), (Joy Foster Harjo), The Last Song, What Moon Drive Me to This?

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Native American poet and script-writer of the Creek tribe, born in Oklahoma, educated at the University of New Mexico and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Harjo has been a consultant for Native American groups and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Third World Writers, and has taught at the University of Arizona. Her interest in Native American women and their experience of change informs her poetry: The Last Song (1975), What Moon Drive Me to This? (1980), and She Had Some Horses (1983), which celebrates the survival of modern Indians but laments the difficulties and dangers of the urban Indian lifestyle. In Mad Love and War (1990) she moves away from the song structure to a freer prose form in which to explore racial injustice. Survival and regeneration are the twin concerns of Harjo's work. In ‘Anchorage’, dedicated to Audre Lorde, she asks ‘who would believe%thin;|%thin;the fantastic and terrible story of all our survival,%thin;|%thin;those who were never meant%thin; |%thin;to survive?’ She has been involved with a number of films released by the Native American Broadcasting Consortium, most notably The Origin of Apache Crown Dance (1985), for which she wrote the script. See also Native American Literature.

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