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LEGACIES: A Conversation with Sandra Cisneros, Rita Dove, and Joy Harjo
Three legends come together to discuss their paths through the American literary landscape. Hosted by Natalie Diaz.
Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 at 1:30 pm
Great Hall, Beus Center for Law and Society Rm. 140
Arizona State University, Downtown Phoenix
111 E Taylor St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and book awards nationally and internationally, and most recently Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016. The House on Mango Street has sold over five million copies, been translated into over twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation. Founder of awards and foundations that serve writers and a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Sandra Cisneros earns her living by her pen.
Former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar as one of the one hundred top high school graduates in the nation that year, she received her MFA in 1977 from the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, where she and her classmates Sandra Cisneros and Joy Harjo were the only non-white students at the time. From 1981 to 1989 she taught creative writing at Arizona State University - the final two years as the first and only African-American full professor in ASU's English Department. In 1989 Rita Dove joined the University of Virginia, where she continues to hold the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English. The recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Thomas and Beulah, a book she wrote while teaching at ASU, she has numerous other literary works to her credit, among them Sonata Mulattica (2009), a poetic treatise on the life of 19th century violinist George Bridgetower, as well as sole editorship of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). Rita Dove's most recent book, Collected Poems 1974-2004, received the 2017 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. Among her many other honors are the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton (making her the only poet with both national medals) and 25 honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Letters from Arizona State University in 1995.
Joy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music including the award-winning album Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Diaz teaches at Arizona State University, and her first poetry collection is When My Brother Was an Aztec.