There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Muskogee poet and musician Joy Harjo’s best-selling book How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems: 1975–2001 displays the writer’s shifting aesthetic sensibilities but unwaveringly distinct voice. The simple logistics of life and love addressed in Harjo’s earlier work hint at the more exalted topics to come, her graceful and economical language elevating daily heartbreaks to, well, poetry. From 1975’s “The Last Song”: “Emma Lee’s husband beat her up/this weekend,/his government check was held up/and he borrowed the money/to drink on.” Harjo’s later pieces tackle loftier themes with the same elegance. From 2000’s “A Map to the Next World”: “In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map for/those who would climb through a hole in the sky./My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged/from the killing fields, from the bedrooms and kitchens.” The Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe will be open only until 6 p.m., so go get your fry bread on before settling in when Harjo reads at 6:30 p.m. in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Rasmuson Theater, 4th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 633-1000. (Anne Marson)