new zealand electronic poetry centre


Tapa Notebooks


Notebook - cover Notebook p4-5 Notebook p14-15 Notebook p20-21 Notebook p28-29
Notebook p40-41 Notebook p58-59 Notebook p98-99 Notebook p100-101 Notebook p102-103

Joy Harjo bio note:

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. She has released four award-winning CD's of original music and won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year. She performs nationally and internationally solo and with her band, The Arrow Dynamics. She has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, in venues in every major U.S. city and internationally. Most recently she performed We Were There When Jazz Was Invented at the Chan Centre at UBC in Vancouver, BC, and appeared at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her one-woman show Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, which features guitarist Larry Mitchell, premiered in Los Angeles in 2009, with recent performances at Joe’s Pub in New York City, LaJolla Playhouse as part of the Native Voices at the Autry, and the University of British Columbia. Joy Harjo's seven books of poetry include such well-known titles as How We Became Human- New and Selected Poems and She Had Some Horses.  Her awards include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She was awarded 2011 Artist of the Year from the Mvskoke Women’s Leadership Initiative, and a Rasmuson US Artists Fellowship. She is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Soul Talk, Song Language, Conversations with Joy Harjo was recently released from Wesleyan University Press. Crazy Brave, a memoir is her newest publication from W.W. Norton, and a new album of music is being produced by the drummer/producer Barrett Martin. She is at work on a new show, commissioned by the Public Theater: We Were There When Jazz Was Invented, a musical story that proves southeastern indigenous tribes are part of the origins of American music. She recently accepted a tenured professor position at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
In August 2011 Joy visited New Zealand as the guest of Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington. Then she came north to visit writing students of Manukau Institute of Technology and the University of Auckland. She also gave a public reading at Auckland Central City Library 18 August, and was presented with a Tapa Notebook by Selina Tusitala Marsh.

Joy Harjo writes:

I am always taking notes. I am not faithful--to a particular notebook. I have a hand-sized notebook in turquoise leather, an 8x10 lined Moleskin notebook, my computer, and other pieces of paper I take notes on. I have tried to write everything in one place, to keep it organized. Like, dreams in this notebook, poems in this one, notes for poems, story notes, play notes. But everything runs wild. And for me, all of these forms overlap. Yet, I find the material from these sources eventually coalesce in ways that I cannot imagine as I am jotting things down. So in a sense, the tapa is a collage of notebooks! And photographs are part of an ongoing life collage. I am often photographing. I am also not reliable in my practice, that is, I do not write from 7 to 10AM every morning, or 9 to midnight everyday. Some days I write. Some days not. Most days I write something, even if it is my dreams. The same with music. I practice my saxophone, bass, ukulele or voice a little everyday...sometimes extensively. I like it when I can have a discernible routine and this happens when I am not traveling. Then the day is roughly: write in the morning, business,errands, calls and emails midday, practice music in the afternoon, the gym, evening more of what is pending.

Joy Harjo
January 9, 2013 4:40PM, Mvskoke Nation/Oklahoma

Photo of Joy Harjo

  Credit: Rain Parrish, Navajo photographer

Last updated 6 March, 2013