Yesterday despite mess inside and cold outside, we stopped everything and entered a different world for a while. It was time for a PSU poetry reading and this reader was nationally known Joy Harjo. She was amazing. A Creek born in Oklahoma, Harjo’s poetry and prose carry the myths and spiritual elements of First Peoples. This means it carries memory of pain as well as bliss.
While I had never really read much Harjo, I constantly came across her name referenced in literature as a foremost American poet, specifically a Native American one. I did not know she sang, played the saxophone, and wrote music as well. At the end of her reading, she sang a last poem. Her silky yet solid voice floated through the room like soft kisses on baby cheeks.
My favorite reading of the night was “Perhaps the World Ends Here”. It is a poem that speaks of the importance of the kitchen table. “It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.” Ironically, I had just read in the new Ted Kooser book a poem titled “At the Kitchen Table”. Both poems hit a favorite belief of mine that the habit of a family gathering at a table is precious and should not be lost. I will reread both of these poems often now.
I came home spiked with energy to write poems or at least to read more and wallow in their beauty…that is as soon as I have another chance!