I thoroughly enjoyed Joy Harjo's performance yesterday. As well as reading her poetry and singing some beautiful songs, she also talked a lot about her life and her connection to poetry and music. I think she hit the nail right on the head when she said that poetry has "the ability to communicate the mystery." Yes! I also bought her CD Winding Through the Milky Way and I just want to listen to it over and over.
You can hear "This Is My Heart" from the CD in this video:
Update: I keep finding myself thinking about Ms. Harjo's talk and just thought I'd share a couple more thoughts here. During part of the talk she spoke about how people collect things and find value in their lives based on what they've collected. Some people collect money or nice clothes, etc. and some people collect stories and songs. She said that she thinks about her moment of death and what she wants to have in her mind as she moves on from this world. Her fear is that she'd have an advertising jingle stuck in her head:) It reminded me of how I used to memorize Wendell Berry poems and how I really did see having them in my mind as some sort of hoard of treasure that I could draw upon if I were ever trapped somewhere and needed something to nourish me and give me something to hold onto. And I've definitely found them useful in dark times. It makes me want to pull out my trusty green anthology of Berry's poems and brush up on some of them.
And I've been listening more to the wonderful CDs I bought yesterday and loving how Joy Harjo has been incorporating jazz into her song poems. This winter I became very aware of how of almost all the music we listen to in our house, jazz makes me feel the most "at home". I just feel at home in my life and in my world when I'm listening to jazz, especially Coltrane, Mingus, Hutcherson, Hill, that warm and beautiful music. It was interesting to hear Ms. Harjo talk about the influence of Native Americans on jazz. Makes a lot of sense to me. In any case, I'm struck by how good it feels to listen to her music. So many things I love all together in one place...