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U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo visits La Crosse Oct. 21

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The Driftless Writing Center based in Viroqua invites the public to attend a reading by United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at Centennial Hall on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus. A Q&A session and book signing will follow Harjo’s reading.

The reading is free and open to the public. Registration is required as capacity is limited. Visit driftlesswritingcenter.org to register. All attendees will be required to wear a mask during the event and while inside campus buildings.

Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is serving her second term as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, the first Native American to hold that post.

The author of nine books of poetry, including the highly acclaimed “An American Sunrise,” several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs, “Crazy Brave” and “Poet Warrior.” Harjo’s many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. As a musician and performer, Harjo has produced seven award-winning music albums including her newest, “I Pray for My Enemies.” She is executive editor of the anthology “When the Light of the World was Subdued,” “Our Songs Came Through — A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry” and the editor of “Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry,” the companion anthology to her signature Poet Laureate project. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The free public reading will be held at 1400 Centennial Hall on the UW-La Crosse campus. Parking is available in front of the Fine Arts Center, at 16th and Vine streets. Please contact the Driftless Writing Center at driftlesswritingcenter@gmail.com or 608-492-1669 to alert organizers to any accessibility needs.

Earlier in the day on Oct. 21, Harjo will meet for an invitation-only discussion with UW-L Native American students and other Native youth, UW-L creative writing students, and other students interested in her work as a writer, musician, and activist.

These events are co-sponsored by the Driftless Writing Center, UW-La Crosse English Department, UW-La Crosse College of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the UW-La Crosse Provost’s Office.

The Driftless Writing Center is a nonprofit organization that connects writers, readers, and audiences through workshops, discussions, and public performances. More information is available by emailing driftlesswritingcenter@gmail.com or calling 608-492-1669, and at the website, www.driftlesswritingcenter.org.

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