“When I first read Joy Harjo’s poetry it was like stepping outside of my own story, my own life which narrates and puts me at the center of every experience,” writes Stanzi Vaubel, producer of The Gift poetry series. “I suddenly felt as though I was soaring over that story through the eyes of an eagle. Or from the point of view of a tree. Or as though I was seeing it through many lives all at once. I didn’t understand it, but it made me very calm. Somehow, it relieved a little bit of the burden of living my life.”
“As I flew over to New Mexico to meet Joy Harjo, I was on the plane next to two young kids from Austin Texas. As the plane descended, one of them said, ‘I feel it right here,’ pointing to his upper chest. The other turned to me and said, “He’s talking about his soul, that’s where he feels it, that’s where feels it moving up and down…Where do you feel it?’”
Joy Harjo is a Native American poet from the Mvskoke/Creek Nations. Harjo is the award-winning author of 15 books and leader of the band, Poetic Justice. Here she reads from her new memoir, Crazy Brave.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, WBEZ presents The Gift – produced by Stanzi Vaubel and curated by Rachel Jamison Webster, author of September: Poems. This project is a collaboration with UniVerse of Poetry, a station partner that aims to celebrate poets from every nation in the world. Each piece drops us into a poets’ inner life, reminding us of the gift of being human among others.