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Joy Harjo to Teach Poetic Thinking on MasterClass

Joy Harjo to Teach Poetic Thinking on MasterClass

MasterClass has announced the launch of award-winning poet and musician Joy Harjo’s class on poetic thinking. Drawing from her own ancestral stories and personal examples of her work, Harjo will teach MasterClass members how to become internally connected, unlock creative blocks and use poetry as a communication device for ideas. The class is now available on MasterClass for members.

“As the first Indigenous American to be named U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy teaches poetry from a place of embodiment and spirit, rather than craft and technique,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “In her class, she focuses on identity, purpose, activism, healing and inheritance, and encourages members to free themselves of being blocked or constrained. The result is a class rich in emotion that is perfect for resetting and reflecting.”

Harjo pushes MasterClass members to think beyond traditional ideologies and structures of writing poetry in order to expand their imagination and be deeply rooted in their intentions. She teaches how to reach new levels of listening and how to navigate big questions and difficult topics by tapping into their origin stories and unique identities. In a lesson on overcoming creative blocks, Harjo guides members away from traditional writing structures, garnering inspiration from dreams and connecting internally through figurative language. Through her work as the U.S. Poet Laureate on the Living Nations, Living Words project, Harjo empowers members to uncover their voice and use poetic mapping to further connect their communities through writing. Additionally, members will learn how to turn poetry into a song as Harjo works with Grammy Award-winning producer, engineer, and performer Larry Mitchell. Members will walk away from Harjo’s class with a better perspective of their creative voice and the inspiration to experiment with new artistic styles.

“Poetry, to me, is not just the written word, but a soul-based expression that can help us find light in darkness, uncover new perceptions and even heal from trauma,” Harjo said. “In my class, I’ll share my experience and ancestral history to help members honor their own story, unlock their innate creativity and find confidence and joy in their writing.” 

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Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke Nation and belongs to Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground). She is currently the 23rd Poet Lau­re­ate of the Unit­ed States, appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. Har­jo began writ­ing poet­ry as a mem­ber of the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mexico’s Native American student orga­ni­za­tion, the Kiva Club. She is the author of nine books of poet­ry, includ­ing An Amer­i­can Sun­rise (2019), which was a 2020 Okla­homa Book Award winner. Her first mem­oir, Crazy Brave (2012), was award­ed the PEN Center USA Award for Cre­ative Nonfic­tion and the Ameri­can Book Award. She is the editor of Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, the companion anthology to her signature Poet Laureate project with the Library of Congress, featuring a sampling of work by 47 Native Nations poets. In addition to serving as a three-term U.S. Poet Laureate, Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is a founding board member and chair of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She has been induct­ed into the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Arts and Let­ters, the Amer­i­can Philo­soph­i­cal Soci­ety, the Nation­al Native Amer­i­can Hall of Fame and the Nation­al Women’s Hall of Fame. As a musician performing with her saxophone and flutes, Har­jo has pro­duced sev­en award-win­ning music albums and per­forms sax­ophone and flutes with her band, the Arrow Dynam­ics Band.

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