Poet Laureate Joy Harjo Headlining the Anaya Lecture Event: UNM Newsroom



The UK Department of UNM hosts the annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest

US poet Laureate Joy Harjo, an alumna of the University of New Mexico, is the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest, sponsored by the UNM’s English Institute.

US poet laureate Joy Harjo

The event will take place on Tuesday, October 5, at 7 p.m. at the Albuquerque Journal Theater in the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, followed by a book signing and reception. The lecture is free and public. You’re welcome reserve a ticket.

The 10th annual lecture is the first since Anaya’s death in 2020 and will honor his legacy by hosting Lobo-Alumna and US poet Laureate Harjo, whose literary arc began in the UNM’s English Department.

Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation serving as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States for a second term. She is the author of nine volumes of poetry and two memoirs, including her latest, Poet warrior.

“Bless the poets, the justice workers, the ceremonial dancers, the singers of grief, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of new meaning – we will all make it, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love. “

Joy Harjo

The Washington Post Lists Poet warrior in its Top 10 Hardcover Best Sellers, noting, “The First Native American Woman to serve as a US Poet Award Winner shares her journey of personal development represented by her work.” The New York Times recommends Poet warrior as one of the seven most important memoirs of this season, which reads: “Harjo, the local poet’s first award winner, draws on her family’s ancestral histories and artistic influences in her second autobiography, which she wrote in verse and prose. She puts it simply: ‘I don’t want to forget, although memory sometimes seems like an enemy that only brings pain.’ “

Harjo’s lecture is something of a homecoming. In 1982 she received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from UNM. She studied with the renowned Chicano author Professor Rudolfo Anaya, where she learned: “At the forefront was storytelling that was rooted in the community.”

She began writing poetry when she was a UNM student, “under the direction and supervision” of poetry professors David Johnson and Gene Frumkin.

“They opened the door, invited me in, and gave me the best of poetry and ideas. I was also an active member of the Kiva Club, the Native American student organization. We were politically active and committed ourselves intensively to questions of social justice. You were my family. We also had the Living Batch Bookstore across the street in Central, which became a central meeting point, ”recalls Harjo.

“Without what I was given in my training at UNM, I would not be where I am,” she continued. “My professors and staff had my trust when they challenged me to develop my art and vision. As I taught there at UNM and elsewhere, I felt that I was the continuation of a genealogy of trust and challenge. My position as US poet laureate is a continuation of this legacy. “

In 2010, Anaya started the lecture series with a generous donation to the English Seminar. Anaya is the founder of the UNM’s prestigious Creative Writing Program and Professor Emeritus of English at UNM. His papers are kept in the UNM Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections in the Zimmerman Library, some of which are about the Rudolfo Anaya Digital Archive.

The annual lecture by Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya on the literature of the Southwest was presented

fundamental figures in southwestern literature, such as the Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz (2010), the Las Cruces writer and playwright Denise Chávez (2011), the Taos author and activist John Nichols (2012), the Kiowa poet and novelist N. Scott Momaday (2013), Chicana author Ana Castillo (2014), Santa Fe mystery author Anne Hillerman (2015), Latinx poet Rigoberto González (2016), Santa Clara Pueblo potter and poet Nora Naranjo-Morse and Opera composer Héctor Armienta (2018). Last year the lecture series hosted three symposia on the Indigenous Southwest with Lourdes Alberto from the University of Utah; Jennifer Denetdale from UNM; and Jason Asenap (UNM), Tristan Ahtone (Highland news) and Shaun Beyale (graphic artist). The lecture series continues to support the literature, art, and culture of the Southwest, and the program hopes to continue offering free and public events.

To support the lecture series and to keep the events free and public, please visit the lecture website Donate. Visit the fund to help create the Rudolfo Anaya Sala, a public house for Mr. Anaya’s memorabilia and other special collections in the Zimmerman Library website or contact Carol Kennedy for more information.

For more information visit the Anaya Lecture Series website or contact the UNM English Department or (505) 277-6347.



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