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.

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