• Library of Congress names Tulsa poet Joy Harjo nation's 23rd Poet Laureate

    By: Ryan Love

    Updated:

    TULSA, Okla. - The Library of Congress announced the appointment of Tulsa's Joy Jarjo as the nation's 23rd Poet Laureate on Wednesday.

    Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden made the announcement that Harjo would take over as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2019-2020 and begin her duties in the fall.

    The Library's annual literary season begins September 19 when Harjo will read her work in the Coolidge Auditorium.

    Harjo -- a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation -- is the first Native American to serve in the position. She replaces Tracy K. Smith who served two terms at the position.

    “Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry – ‘soul talk’ as she calls it – for over four decades,” Hayden said.

    Harjo lives in her hometown of Tulsa and is the nation's first Poet Laureate from Oklahoma.

    “I share this honor with ancestors and teachers who inspired in me a love of poetry, who taught that words are powerful and can make change when understanding appears impossible, and how time and timelessness can live together within a poem. I count among these ancestors and teachers my Muscogee Creek people, the librarians who opened so many doors for all of us, and the original poets of the indigenous tribal nations of these lands, who were joined by diverse peoples from nations all over the world to make this country and this country’s poetry.” -- Joy Harjo

    She is the author of eight books of poetry including “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” (W. W. Norton, 2015); “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” (W. W. Norton, 1994); and “In Mad Love and War” (Wesleyan University Press, 1990).


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