Joy Harjo: “You’ll never go wrong if you act with compassion”

Earlier this year, I interviewed poet, writer, musician, and artist Joy Harjo (Muscogee) for High Country News. Harjo’s memoir, Crazy Brave, had just come out and I was asking her about home, childhood, and her time at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. (You can read that profile here.)

I wanted to share some of the audio from our phone interview. She’s an amazing, gracious woman–and it feels unkind to keep her words all to myself.

In Crazy Brave, she writes about how each of us enter into this world with a map within our hearts. Here she is talking about that map:



In the clip below, she addresses my question: “In Crazy Brave, you write about dreams and visions, voices of the past, history of the Creek, your ancestors, older generations. When you have sorted through all of that, throughout your life, what does ‘home’ mean to you?  When many people write about home, they make it seem so easy and natural–which makes me feel suspicious or maybe confused—but in Crazy Brave, you admit so many of the difficulties of family and home.”



Here she talks more about family:



And lastly, here she talks about being a teenager in the late 1960s and attending  the Institute of American Indian Arts:


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