Wesleyan University Press has just released Soul Talk, Song Language: Conversations with Joy Harjo
by Joy Harjo and Tanaya Winder
Foreword by Laura Coltelli
Joy Harjo is a “poet-healer-philosopher-saxophonist,” and one of the most powerful Native American voices of her generation. She has spent the past two decades creating and exploring her place in poetry, music, dance/performance, and art. Soul Talk, Song Language is a distinctive book, gathering together Harjo’s insights and explorations in the form of interviews and essays, showing how artistic creation can bring about spiritual and cultural renewal.
Harjo reflects upon the nuances and development of her art, the importance of her origins, and the arduous reconstructions of the tribal past, as well as the dramatic confrontation between Native American and Anglo civilizations. She takes us on a journey into her identity as an artist, as a woman, and as Native person. With her work poised between poetry and music, she encompasses her tribal heritage, and causes the reader to pause and reassess the American cultural patrimony.
Harjo’s inspiration is often rooted in ritual and ceremony. Her cultural and family background played important roles in the formation of her art. Soul Talk, Song Language is an exploration of how identity and culture shapes the work of the artist, the language of the poet and musician—not only inspiring the end content of the work, but the creation process itself.
Joy Harjo is a poet, performer, writer, and musician of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. She has published seven books of acclaimed poetry including She Had Some Horses, In Mad Love and War, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, and How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems. She has produced five award-winning albums of music and poetry including Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century, Winding through the Milky Way, and Red Dreams: A Trail Beyond Tears. Tanaya Winder is a poet from the Duckwater Shoshone and Southern Ute nations. She is pursuing an MFA in poetry from University of New Mexico and working on her first collection of poetry. Laura Coltelli is a professor of American literature at the University of Pisa, Italy. Her publications include Winged Words, American Indian Writers Speak, and an edited collection of essays, Reading Leslie Marmon Silko.