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Remember By Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.

About the Poet

Joy Harjo photo credit Karen Kuehn

Joy Harjo (1945-2022) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1951, Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She is the author of ten collections of poetry, the most recent of which are Weav­ing Sun­down in a Scar­let Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years (W.W. Norton, 2022) and An Amer­i­can Sun­rise (W.W. Norton, 2019), as well as several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave: A Memoir (W. W. Norton, 2012) and Poet Warrior (W.W. Norton, 2021).

She was appointed the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019 and served through 2022, becoming just the second poet to serve three consecutive terms. Among Harjo’s many honors and awards are Yale University’s 2023 Bollin­gen Prize for Amer­i­can Poet­ry, a Life­time Achieve­ment Award from Amer­i­cans for the Arts, the Ruth Lily Prize for Life­time Achieve­ment from the Poet­ry Foun­da­tion, the Acad­e­my of Amer­i­can Poets Wal­lace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Lit­er­ary Award, the Poets & Writ­ers Jack­son Poet­ry Prize, two NEA fel­low­ships, a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship, and a Nation­al Book Crit­ics Cir­cle Ivan San­drof Life­time Achieve­ment Award.

She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is the first artist-in-residence at the Bob Dylan Center.

Related Events

  • The Canisius College Contemporary Writers Series will present a reading by and question-and-answer session with recent United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, in the Montante Cultural Center at Canisius College, 2001 Main St. in Buffalo.

View Event Details

About “Poem of the Week”

The “Poem of the Week” feature is curated by literary legacy awardee R.D. Pohl.

R.D. (Bob) Pohl is a poet, writer, editor, and literary and cultural critic based in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1973 to 1981, where he studied language philosophy and philosophy of science with Newton Garver, Charles Lambros, and Peter Hare as an undergraduate, before shifting his attentions to poetry and literature, studying with Lionel Abel, Diane Christian, Robert Creeley, Carl Dennis, Raymond Federman, Leslie Fiedler, and John Logan of the now legendary UB English Department of the late 1970’s as a graduate student.

In relaunching the Buffalo-area “Poem of the Week” in partnership with Just Buffalo Literary Center, he hopes to continue and expand upon his community building work of the past four decades with the hope of making the Buffalo poetry scene more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming to the expression of many voices and poetic practices.