Did you know that Seton Hall’s rare book collection contains poetry by Native American authors? There is an inscribed copy of one of the early books of the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, in Walsh Library’s Rare Book collection. The inscription reads “for Penny and Bill, in strength and in beauty.” This refers to William Higginson and his wife, who founded From Here Press in Patterson, New Jersey. Higginson, a specialist in haiku, donated his incredible collection of poetry books to Seton Hall in 2013.
An alto saxophonist and artist as well as poet, Harjo breaks boundaries in many aspects of her work. Influenced by jazz and blues as well as by her Cree heritage and poetic predecessors such as Audre Lorde, Harjo’s poetry reflects on loss, survival, and the limitations of language itself.