Living Nations, Living Words

November 28, 2020

As you may have heard, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has announced the appointment of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to a third term, to begin in September 2021. Harjo is only the second laureate to receive this extension since terms for the position were established in 1943.

Among the laureate’s responsibilities is the creation of a signature project. Hayden’s announcement also marks the launch of Harjo’s signature project, “Living Nations, Living Words.” Designed to “introduce the country to the many Native poets who live in these lands….The ‘Living Nations, Living Words’ project features a sampling of work by 47 Native Nations poets through an interactive ArcGIS Story Map and a newly developed Library of Congress audio collection.”

“Each of the 47 Native Nations poets featured in ‘Living Nations, Living Words’ selected an original poem on the theme of place and displacement, and with four touchpoints in mind: visibility, persistence, resistance, and acknowledgment.” Forty-seven may not sound like a lot, but this is an ambitious project. Follow the links above to learn about the poets, hear and read the poems, and read transcripts of the poets reading and discussing their poems. All of the material is now archived in the Library of Congress.

Hugo House has announced the lineup for Word Works: Writers on Writing 2020–2021. “Word Works craft talks focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through lectures and live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work.”

Each program features a different presenter and topic:

  • Porochista Khakpour: Writing Toward & Against Identity – December 4, 2020
  • Lauren Groff: Fiction’s Hidden Architectures – February 5, 2021
  • Jericho Brown: Nonsense and Senselessness – March 5, 2021
  • Melissa Febos: In Praise of the Confessional – April 9, 2021
  • Joy Harjo: Our Songs Came Through – April 23, 2021
  • Russell Banks: Memory, Abandonment, and Betrayal – May 14, 2021

All Word Works events this season will be held online. Series passes and single-event tickets are now available. See the Word Works page for details on the presenters, topics, and tickets.

today, times three!

October 21, 2020

Today, Wednesday, October 21, 2020, is a big day for poetry. Here are links to three terrific virtual events that should be enormously inspiring (times are Pacific):

At 12:30pm, U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo reads and discusses her work as part of the October 19-23 celebration, Always Indigenous: Fifty Years of the Chief Seattle Club.

At 5:00pm, Dear America Town Hall —Real Patriotism: The Art of Activism and Protest features readings and discussion by Sherwin Bitsui, Fenton Johnson, Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Debra Marquart, facilitated by Terrain.org editor-in-chief Simmons Buntin.

At 7:30pm, Town Hall Seattle presents Kathleen Flenniken in conversation with fellow poet Sharon Bryan.

Enjoy!

poets laureate

May 2, 2020

Congratulations to Anis Mojgani, who has just accepted an appointment as the 10th Poet Laureate of Oregon. Watch Anis Mojgani on Button Poetry “To Where the Trees Grow Tall” or his TEDxEmory talk, “The music of growing up down south.”

Congratulations also to Joy Harjo, who has just been appointed to a second term as U.S. Poet Laureate.

Poetry is especially important right now and it’s good to have such capable and creative poets as guides.

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Photo by Hilde Franzsen

National Poetry Month

April 1, 2020

Every month is national poetry month around these parts, but it’s official in April: National Poetry Month and National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). The 2020 National Poetry Month poster features the award-winning artwork of student Samantha Aikman and features a line from the poem “Remember” by current U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.

It’s also National Poetry Month in Canada.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today, June 19, 2019, announced the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation’s Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2019-2020. Harjo is the first Native American poet to serve in the position — she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation.

Joy Harjo will take up her position in the fall and succeeds Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms as laureate.

Read the full story on the Library of Congress website, and view a recent Q & A with the poet here.

good news

October 19, 2016

NEA Big Read

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Big Read encourages and supports community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the program has for the first time added poetry titles to its list of books: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1999-2002 by Joy Harjo, and Book of Hours by Kevin Young.

The NEA Big Read offers a variety of programming nationwide, from family events and book discussion groups to theatrical adaptations, movie screenings, and more. Watch for news of NEA Big Read poetry in your community!

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