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  • The Griffin

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo Visits Canisius College

By Julia Barth, Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday, the Canisius College English department welcomed renowned author and poet Joy Harjo to the school to speak to students and faculty at an event in Montante.

Harjo, who is the country’s 23rd Poet Laureate– and the first Native American to hold that honor– is known for her works of poetry including “An American Sunrise” and “She Had Some Horses” as well as her memoirs entitled “Crazy Brave” and “Poet Warrior.”

The English department has been in preparation for this esteemed visit by having their English classes read different works of Harjos, and encouraged students to attend the event in Montante.

Additionally, a small group of students had the opportunity to attend a more closed discussion with Harjo, which took place in Old Main, where she recounted how she got started writing poetry and answered questions from audience members.

She had a very spiritual and whimsical nature about her, which is definitely reflective of her work. A lot of her poetry focuses on growing up in Oklahoma, being Native American, recounting the stories of her ancestors and discussing the natural world.

In Montante, where she spoke at 7 p.m., she read excerpts from her memoir “Poet Warrior” which was released in 2021. Students at the event recounted that she prefaced her readings with sentiments about what they meant to her and why she wrote them.

At the end of the event, Harjo took questions from audience members which consisted of a mix of students and faculty, and ended promptly at 8:30 p.m.

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