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LITERATURE | Celebrating Joy Harjo

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Update: this event's original emcee, Monty Campbell Jr., has had to bow out. Rochester poet Rich Forster will be the emcee for the evening.

I first read Joy Harjo's poems for a college course on Native American literature; her collection, "She Had Some Horses," was on the syllabus. Harjo's writing was not only the first I'd read by an Indigenous woman (previously I'd wolfed Sherman Alexie and N. Scott Momaday) but it was also among the first feminist works I'd encountered. I remember being so absorbed by her tenderness and ferocity, by her ability to speak to unabashed despair and fury and love and resilience. Earlier this year, Harjo, who is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, made history as the first Native American to be appointed as United States Poet Laureate. This week Writers & Books will celebrate this designation with a participatory reading of her work and open mic with emcee and featured poet Monty Campbell Jr. (Cayuga), author of "A Dent in the Moon."

Thursday, October 10, 7 to 9 p.m. Writers & Books, 740 University Avenue. Free and open to the public. 273-2590; wab.org.