Poetry at Bennington: Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position. She is the author of nine books of poetry, including An American Sunrise (Norton, 2019) and Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (Norton, 2015), shortlisted for the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her memoir Crazy Brave (Norton, 2012) won the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction and the American Book Award. She is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Jackson Prize and William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. The executive editor of the just-published When the Light for the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, she is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Poetry at Bennington showcases the range and vitality of contemporary poetic voices with an emphasis on cultural and aesthetic diversity. Since 2012, over 50 poets have visited, including multiple Poets Laureate, winners of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and MacArthur Foundation Fellows, along with emerging writers who have received considerable acclaim. Each visiting poet presents a public reading and engages directly with students through question-and-answer sessions, craft lectures, master classes, group writing exercises, and/or individual consultations. Readings, craft talks, and Q&A sessions are open to the public, and regularly attract students from neighboring colleges as well as poetry enthusiasts across southern Vermont and western Massachusetts. Poetry at Bennington fosters a continual community conversation about poetry, aesthetics, and the power of language, some of the central components of a Bennington education.