Making Your Own Map: Joy Harjo and Evie Schockley (2014)

The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series event Making Your Own Map: Joy Harjo and Evie Shockley was held on March 24, 2014 in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre. Joy Harjo and Evie Shockley explored and meditated on social issues, culture, race, and more in a reading that wove new textures of identity from a national cloth.

Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo's books of poetry include A Map to the Next World: Poems; The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, which received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and In Mad Love and War, which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her many honors include The American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and fellowships from the Witter Bynner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She also performs her poetry and plays saxophone with her band, Poetic Justice.

Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley is the author of several collections of poetry, including a half-red sea and the new black. She is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry. Her honors include the Holmes National Poetry Prize and fellowships from Cave Canem, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. Shockley is a Professor at Rutgers University.

Reviews and excerpts

"This breathtakingly honest collection of writings is alive with deeply felt and beautifully expressed emotions. It should be read and savored over and over again.” —Wilma Mankiller, former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation

the new black is a book of stunning urgency and invention.”— poet Terrance Hayes

From Songs from the House of Death, Or How to Make It Through to the End of a Relationship

4. The weight of rain is unbearable to the sky

eventually. Just as desire will

burn a hole through the sky

and fall to earth.

From A MAP TO THE NEXT WORLD © 2000 by Joy Harjo, published by W.W. Norton and Company. Used with permission.

From ode to my blackness

at the root of my blues

i dig down deep and there you are

the root of my blues

you’re all thick and dark, enveloping

when i got nothing to lose

seem like it’s so hard to let you go

From THE NEW BLACK © 2011 by Evie Shockley, published by Wesleyan University Press. Used with permission.