Don't worry about what a poem means. Do you ask what a song means before you listen? Just listen. — Joy Harjo
In February 2018, Eugene Public Library hosts the NEA Big Read celebration of Joy Harjo’s How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems.
The calendar of events features a wide variety of activities at the Library and in the community, including talks, performances, workshops, exhibits, and conversations. For updates, sign up for the Library newsletter, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.
How We Became Human is filled with the power of nature, spirituality, memory, violence, and the splintered history of America's indigenous peoples, and infused with the rhythms, sounds, and stories of the poet’s Creek heritage. Harjo has been honored with the Wallace Stevens Award by the Academy of American Poets and the William Carlos Williams Award by the Poetry Society of America. Her memoir, Crazy Brave, won the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award.
Find more information online about the book and the author, plus discussion questions (also available combined as a printable PDF booklet). Enjoy additional written and musical works by Harjo available at the Library.
The NEA Big Read of How We Became Human is presented by Eugene Public Library in collaboration with University of Oregon Native American Studies, Common Reading, Center for the Study of Women in Society, and Museum of Natural and Cultural History; Yachats Trail Committee; Lane County History Museum; Oregon Contemporary Theatre; Springfield Public Library; Friends of Eugene Public Library, and Eugene Public Library Foundation.
The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, which awarded Eugene Public Library a grant of $14,000 to coordinate the project locally. Eugene Public Library was previously chosen to host Big Reads of Fahrenheit 451 (2012), The Great Gatsby (2014), and The Maltese Falcon (2017).