Poet Laureate to speak in OC as part of Creative Edge Lecture series

Author and performer Joy Harjo, who was recently named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, has been announced as the featured speaker at the 11th annual Creative Edge Lecture, which will take place in February.

Hosted by Arts Orange County in association with OCDE and Fourth District PTA, the Creative Edge Lecture series was established in 2010 to give local artists, educators, business leaders and community members an opportunity to hear from distinguished thought-leaders and innovators whose work is served by creativity.

Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo, who recently became the first Native American selected as Poet Laureate of the United States, will speak in Orange County in February.

Previous speakers have included violinist Vijay Gupta, neuroscientist Dr. Charles Limb, educational advisor Sir Ken Robinson and authors Sarah Lewis and Daniel Pink.

Harjo’s presentation will be held at the Irvine Barclay Theatre beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 28. The event is free and open to all audiences, but reservations are required. They can be made by visiting thebarclay.org starting in January.

“Orange County is fortunate to welcome Joy Harjo to share her stories, her poems, her artistry,” said OCDE Chief Academic Officer Jeff Hittenberger. “She sees beyond the limits of today and has a vision that encompasses history, a vision that bears witness to suffering and hope.”

Nation’s official poet

Harjo, who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation who has authored nine books of poetry. She’s also written plays, children’s books and a memoir titled, “Crazy Brave.”

A celebrated musician, she learned to play the saxophone at age 40 and performs around the world, both as a solo act and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics.

In June, Harjo became the first Native American to assume to role of “the nation’s official poet” — and the first Oklahoman.

“Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry – ‘soul talk’ as she calls it – for over four decades,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said. “To her, poems are ‘carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,’ and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.”

Among her many honors, Harjo is the 2017 recipient of the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and in 2015 she was presented with the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She has also earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a United States Artist Fellowship.

The Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Drive in Irvine. For more information, visit artsoc.org/lecture, and check out this segment on Harjo produced by PBS NewsHour.