Summer 1993 • Vol. XV No. 3 Interview |

In Love and War and Music: An Interview with Joy Harjo

MK: What were your beginnings as a writer? JH: I could look at this in a couple of ways. One is to look at the myths and stories of the people who formed me in the place where I entered the world. . . . Another way is to look at when I first consciously called myself a writer. I started writing poetry when I was pretty old, actually—I was about twenty-two. I committed to poetry the day I went in to my painting teacher who mentored me and expected a fine career in painting for me, and told him I was switching my major to poetry. I made the decision to learn what poetry could teach me. It was a painful choice. I come from a family of Muscogee painters. My grandmother and my great-aunt both got their B.F.A.'s in Art in the early 1900s. And from the time I was very small you could always find me drawing, whether it was in the dirt or on paper. That was one thing that made me happy. . . I always said that when I grow up I am going to be a painter, I am going to be an artist. Then

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