Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This through countless ages


It sits forlorn
in the basement kitchen
from having prepared decades
of church meals

lately doing back-up at pancake suppers,
rusting out.
The ladies of the church,
women of the nights
and many a day

have conducted numerous
bake sales
and other enterprises
to raise funds for a kitchen

and soon the old stove
- not working anymore -
will be dislodged and hauled out
from the historic Congregational fortress 
at Broadway and East, Waukesha WI

founded in 1838
-imagine that -

and maybe compressed somewhere
for the scrap that it isn't,
and a new kitchen complete
 will go in

The soldiers will move onward
into a bright and good-smelling



Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear
Can't know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

"Eagle Poem" by Joy Harjo, from In Mad Love and War. © Wesleyan University Press, 1990

(From the Oklahoma Historical Society)

HARJO, JOY (1951- )

Born on May 9, 1951, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Joy Harjo is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Tribe. The daughter of Allen W. and Wynema Baker Foster, Harjo was not raised on the reservation. Coming from a family of painters, she originally planned on pursuing a career in the visual arts. When she turned sixteen, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and enrolled at the Institute of American Indian Arts to study painting and theatre. After graduating in 1968, she decided to pursue a degree in creative writing at the University of New Mexico, where she received a bachelor's degree in 1976. Following her interests in language, literature, and writing, Harjo moved to Iowa and enrolled in the University of Iowa, graduating with an master of fine arts degree in 1978. While at the University of Iowa, she also completed a nondegree program in filmmaking at the Anthropology Film Center.
After receiving her graduate degree, Harjo returned to Santa Fe and taught as an instructor at the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1978-79 and 1983-84 and as a lecturer at Arizona State University in 1980-81. In addition to her work at the Institute of American Indian Arts, she also taught at Santa Fe Community College in 1983-84. Following this series of one-year appointments, she secured more full-time positions as an assistant professor at the University of Colorado in 1985-88, an associate professor at the University of Arizona in 1988-90, and finally as a full professor of creative writing at the University of New Mexico in 1991-95.
Influenced by her family and other authors, such as Leslie Silko, Simon Ortiz, Galway Kinnell, and Leo Remero, Harjo was inspired to become a poet and has published several collections: The Last Song (1975), What Moon Drove Me to This (1979), She Had Some Horses (1983), Secrets from the Center of the World (1989), In Mad Love and War(1990), and The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994). Drawing on elements from her life, including her struggles as a teenage mother and divorcee, the landscape of the Southwest, and the relationship between humans and nature, her poetry has won many prestigious awards, including the American Book Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the American Indian Distinguished Achievement Award, and the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. In addition, she has received two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships in 1978 and 1992 and an honorary doctorate from Benedictine College in 1992.
From 1995 to 2000 Harjo combined her literary interests with music and toured with her band, Poetic Justice, who recorded an album and won the Musical Artist of the Year Award for 1996-97 from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. In 2000 she engaged in a series of poetry readings across the country to promote her new works, Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writing of North America and A Map to the Next World, Poetry and Tales. She resided in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the end of the twentieth century.  MORE OF HER IS PRESENTLY UNKNOWN BY THE SEWER RACCOON NEWS. MUST  LOOK  UP MORE.  THIS POEM SHOWED UP ON WRITERS ALMANAC THIS MORNING.  SEEMS A PERSON WHO LIVES LIFE TO THE FULL, and PLAYS THE SAX. 
Yibawe: And What Else?