In case you missed it last night: Joy Harjo’s Inaugural Reading as U.S. Poet Laureate; Poetry at the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival

Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

“Way way back: Music, poetry and dance came into the world together. Sometimes they get lonely for each other.” Joy Harjo during her Inaugural Reading



Joy Harjo gave her inaugural reading as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress last night. Here it is in case you missed it. (One-and-three-quarters hours. You might want to bookmark it for later.) It is an understated event, nothing Hollywood about it, which was refreshing and a relief from the usual broadcast noise. Harjo filled her presentation with history, a sense of place, and music as well as poetry.

Harjo accepted the award on behalf of herself, of course, but also on behalf of tribal women/indigenous women everywhere. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, she is the first Native American to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate.

“Every poem has a poem ancestor.” Joy Harjo during her Inaugural Reading


Poetry at the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival

 

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of literary stars and emerging authors who represent the exciting world of literature today.

Participating poets include: Hala Alyan, Jericho Brown, Tina Chang, Nick Flynn, Rigoberto González, Ilya Kaminsky, Edgar Kunz, Sally Wen Mao, Ladan Osman, Jake Skeets, Sally Wen Mao, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, and Keith Wilson.

Drop by the Academy of American Poets booth (#321) at Brooklyn Borough Hall to pick up copies of Volumes 55 and 56 of American Poets magazine, purchase American Poets Prize–winners’ books for $5 each, and peruse discounted items from the Poets Shop. For more information about Academy events at the Festival, VISIT HERE.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Joy Harjo’s Opening Reading as Poet Laureate, September 19, Will be Live-streamed by the Library of Congress; Joy Harjo reading “Remember”

Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

“I’ve always had a theory that some of us are born with nerve endings longer than our bodies”  Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War



Harjo photographed by the Library of Congress in 2019, upon her nomination as Poet Laureate

Joy Harjo will give her inaugural reading as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19. The event will take place in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. A book signing will follow.

The program is free and open to the public, but tickets are required and there may be special restrictions. For more information and to secure tickets, visit this event ticketing site HERE.

Harjo’s reading will be live-streamed on the Library’s Facebook page and its YouTube site (with closed captions).

Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the first Native American to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate.



The official seal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation by Muscogee Red under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The nation descends from the historic Creek Confederacy, a large group of indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Official languages include Muscogee, Yuchi, Natchez, Alabama, and Koasati, with Muscogee retaining the largest number of speakers. They commonly refer to themselves as Este Mvskokvlke (pronounced [isti məskógəlgi]). Historically, they were often referred to as one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the American Southeast.



The historic reading marks the beginning of Harjo’s laureateship, which traditionally launches the Library’s 2019-2020 literary season. This year, it is also part of the Library’s new National Book Festival Presents series, featuring high-caliber authors, their books and related Library treasures.

Photo courtesy of Joy Harjo. Photographer: Karen Kuehn

In addition to reading from her repertoire of poems spanning a 40-year career, Harjo, who is an award-winning musician, also will perform with bassist Howard Cloud and keyboardist Robert Muller.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed Harjo the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in June. Hayden says that Harjo’s poems tell “an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.”

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 9, 1951, Harjo has written 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), winner of the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and In Mad Love and War (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her most recent book of poetry is An American Sunrise was published by W. W. Norton this month.

Joy Harjo’s memoir, Crazy Brave (W. W. Norton, 2012) won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary prize for creative nonfiction. In addition, Harjo has written a children’s book, The Good Luck Cat (Harcourt, Brace 2000), and a young adult book, For a Girl Becoming (University of Arizona Press, 2009).

AWARDS: Harjo’s many literary awards include the PEN Open Book Award, the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

Harjo has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her collection How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001” (W. W. Norton, 2002) was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its Big Read program. Her recent honors include the Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers (2019), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation (2017) and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets (2015). In 2019, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

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This post is courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Amazon, Wikipedia, The Poetry Society, my bookshelf, and Joy Harjo.

The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature. To this end, the center administers the endowed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry position, coordinates an annual season of readings, performances, lectures, conferences and symposia; sponsors high-profile prizes and fellowships for literary writers; and offers a range of digital initiatives to further its mission and reach. For more information, visit.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

First Native American to be named U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, a Member of the Muscogee Creek Nation

Harjo at “Legacies: A Conversation with Sandra Cisneros, Rita Dove, and Joy Harjo”, 2017 courtesy of Gage Skidmore under CC BY-SA 2.0

“I can hear the sizzle of newborn stars, and know anything of meaning, of the fierce magic emerging here. I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past, and I know we will live forever, as dust or breath in the face of stars, in the shifting pattern of winds.”Joy Harjo, Secrets from the Center of the World


I don’t think I’ve seen Laureate news spread as quickly as this announcement today by the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden: that is, the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation’s 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2019-2020. Harjo will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library’s annual literary season on Sept. 19 with a reading of her work in the Coolidge Auditorium.

Harjo is the first Native American poet to serve in the position – she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. She succeeds Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms as laureate.

“Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry – ‘soul talk’ as she calls it – for over four decades,” Hayden said. “To her, poems are ‘carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,’ and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.”

Harjo currently lives in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is also the nation’s first Poet Laureate from Oklahoma.

Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo, June 6, 2019. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congess

“What a tremendous honor it is to be named the U.S. Poet Laureate,” Harjo said. “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.”

Harjo joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position, including Juan Felipe Herrera, Charles Wright, Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove.

Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 9, 1951, and 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), which received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and “In Mad Love and War” (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her next book of poems, “An American Sunrise,” will be published by W.W. Norton in fall 2019. Harjo has also written a memoir, “Crazy Brave” (W.W. Norton, 2012), which won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary prize for creative nonfiction, as well as a children’s book, “The Good Luck Cat” (Harcourt, Brace 2000) and a young adult book, “For a Girl Becoming” (University of Arizona Press, 2009).

As a performer, Harjo has appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and in venues across the U.S. and internationally. In addition to her poetry, Harjo is a musician. She plays saxophone with her band, the Arrow Dynamics Band, and previously with Poetic Justice, and has released four award-winning CDs of original music. In 2009, she won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year.

Harjo’s many literary awards include the PEN Open Book Award, the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. Harjo has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her collection “How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001” (W.W. Norton, 2002) was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its Big Read program. Her recent honors include the Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers (2019), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation (2017) and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets (2015). In 2019, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Harjo has taught at UCLA and was until recently a professor and chair of excellence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has returned to her hometown where she holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

RELATED:

This post compiled courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Wikipedia, Amazon, and my personal library.

About the Laureateship

The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1937, when Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library. Since then, many of the nation’s most eminent poets have served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and, after the passage of Public Law 99-194 (Dec. 20, 1985), as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry – a position that the law states “is equivalent to that of Poet Laureate of the United States.”

During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. The Library keeps to a minimum the specific duties required of the Poet Laureate, who opens the literary season in the fall and closes it in the spring. In recent years, Laureates have initiated poetry projects that broaden the audiences for poetry.

For more information on the Poet Laureate and the Poetry and Literature Center, visit loc.gov/poetry. Consultants in Poetry and Poets Laureate Consultants in Poetry and their terms of service can be found at loc.gov/poetry/laureate.html.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



 

“Fear Poem, or I Give You Back” by poet and jazz musician Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo (b 1951), Mvskoke (Creek) Poet, Musician, author and key player in the second wave of the Native Merican Renaissance (literary efflorescence)

Joy Harjo (b 1951), Mvskoke (Creek) Poet, Musician, author and key player in the second wave of the Native Merican Renaissance (literary efflorescence)

All you have to do is listen to the news or browse through Facebook or Twitter or the blogosphere to know that people are in pain and fear – personal, political, cultural. Two or three years ago Joy Harjo invited us to share her poem and after the news tonight, I thought this might be a good time to post it again. / J.D.



Because of the fear monster infecting this country, I have been asked for this poem, this song. Feel free to use it, record it, and share. Please give credit. This poem came when I absolutely needed it. I was young and nearly destroyed by fear. I almost didn’t make it to twenty-three. This poem was given to me to share.” Joy Harjo

Fear Poem, or I Give You Back

I release you, my beautiful and terrible
fear. I release you. You were my beloved
and hated twin, but now, I don’t know you
as myself. I release you with all the
pain I would know at the death of
my children.
You are not my blood anymore.
I give you back to the soldiers
who burned down my home, beheaded my children,
raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters.
I give you back to those who stole the
food from our plates when we were starving.
I release you, fear, because you hold
these scenes in front of me and I was born
with eyes that can never close.
I release you
I release you
I release you
I release you
I am not afraid to be angry.
I am not afraid to rejoice.
I am not afraid to be black.
I am not afraid to be white.
I am not afraid to be hungry.
I am not afraid to be full.
I am not afraid to be hated.
I am not afraid to be loved.
to be loved, to be loved, fear.
Oh, you have choked me, but I gave you the leash.
You have gutted me but I gave you the knife.
You have devoured me, but I laid myself across the fire.
I take myself back, fear.
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won’t hold you in my hands.
You can’t live in my eyes, my ears, my voice
my belly, or in my heart my heart
my heart my heart
But come here, fear
I am alive and you are so afraid
of dying.

c Joy Harjo and W.W. Norton, from She Had Some Horses

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…With a double shot of heart, beauty, freedom, peace and grace that blends traditional Native rhythms and singing with jazz, rock, blues and hip-hip,
Harjo is right at the top of the best contemporary American poetry and music artists.”
—Thomas Rain Crow, The Bloomsbury Review

LET US GIVE BACK THE FEAR.

RELATED:

CELEBRATING AMERICAN SHE-POETS (18): Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave


ABOUT

Testimonials
Disclosure
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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton