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Renowned poet and UT English Professor Joy Harjo has received a prestigious fellowship to support her work in advancing social change.

The Ford Foundation this month awarded Harjo one of 25 Art of Change fellowships. Other recipients include Emmy Award–winning and Academy Award–nominated filmmakers, academics, singers, songwriters, dancers, choreographers, and poets.

The new fellowships support visionary artists and cultural leaders in creating works of art that will help advance freedom, justice, and inclusion, and strengthen US democracy, according to the Ford Foundation.

The yearlong fellowship comes with unrestricted stipends of $50,000 for individuals and $75,000 for collaborative teams. Fellows will create work exploring questions of freedom and justice, which they will showcase in late 2018.

“I am honored to be included in such an accomplished slate of fine artists,” Harjo said. “My poetry and music emerged out of a need for Native rights and recognition in this country. We continue toward awareness and cultural growth.”

Harjo is an internationally recognized poet, musician, author, and playwright. She holds the Chair of Excellence in the UT Department of English, a title reserved for scholars and writers of the highest distinction.

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo began writing poetry in the 1970s to give a voice to the Native American rights movement. Her works reflect her Muscogee Creek tribal heritage. She has published eight books of poetry, a memoir, two children’s books, a collaboration with photographer and astronomer Stephen Strom, an anthology of North American Native women’s writing, several screenplays, and two plays.

Her most recent poetry collection, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, was short-listed for the Griffin International Prize and named the American Library Association’s Notable Book of the Year. 

Harjo has toured nationally and internationally, both alone and with her bands: Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice, and the Arrow Dynamics Band.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,