US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, paid a virtual visit to the Outer Banks on Thursday.

US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, paid a virtual visit to the Outer Banks on Thursday.

Sometimes we have a chance to see something that really sparks our imagination and makes us think. That happened this past week on Thursday.

The Bryan Cultural Series was able to bring US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to the Outer Banks via Zoom on Thursday. She was originally supposed to be on the Outer Banks, but well, we live in a difficult time and since she lives in Tulsa, OK traveling here just didn’t make sense.

Nonetheless, the virtual time she spent with the Outer Banks community, first with the schools and then in a general broadcast on Thursday night was remarkable.

Joy Harjo is the first Native American US Poet Laureate and her poetry does use a lot of symbolism and imagery from her heritage. But what makes the poetry really stand out is how accessible it is. How easy it is to understand.

That doesn’t mean it simple or that she doesn’t take on some pretty heavy issues. She does. Death, the environment, family—she goes into all of it. But the words and the images she uses make those issues comprehensible.

Joy Harjo is a storyteller

One of the things that comes across about her is how good a storyteller she is. The poems themselves are stories—short stories, but certainly stories. But as she talks about her personal journey, that too becomes part of the story.

What makes her personal storytelling so effective, is how clear-eyed she is about her life and her ability to relate to her audience.

She was a teenage mother, as an example, and when she was speaking to the high school students, she told them that if they were thinking of becoming teenage mothers, to talk to her and she would talk them out of it.

Her evening with the Bryan Cultural Series has been posted to Youtube. Just type in Joy Harjo Bryan Cultural Series in the Youtube search and it should come up. The audio quality is good.

There is still a lot happening on the Outer Banks. Stop by and see for yourself why the fall is such a great time to stay with Brindley Beach Vacations.