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U.S. Poet Laureate Set To Speak On South Coast

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

She’s America’s Poet Laureate, and she’s giving a literary voice to Native Americans. Joy Harjo is set to speak at a public event in Santa Barbara this week. Harjo says while she didn’t set out to become a poet, once she started writing it felt like the path she was meant to take.

She’s authored nine poetry books, as well as a book about her life. Harjo is also a noted musician. Her poetry often looks at subjects ranging from the arts, to social justice.

Harjo says its been an interesting balancing act for the last year, since being named last June as America’s poetry ambassador. She’s had to set aside a lot of her work to handle the Poet Laureate duties, like her Wednesday night appearance in Santa Barbara. It’s also been a twist for her, because it’s one thing to write your poetry, and another to speak in an auditorium with hundreds, or thousands of people.

Harjo will appear at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s Fleishman Auditorium Wednesday night. The U-C Santa Barbara Arts and Lectures event is billboarded as “An Evening With The U.S. Poet Laureate.” It’s open to the public, with tickets for the 7:30 p.m. event available at the door