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



 

HEADS-UP MY FELLOW CALIFORNIANS: PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowships L.A.

 

“Arts and culture are inextricably linked to our humanity,” said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair. “They serve as a universal touchpoint for understanding and addressing our societal issues—dismantling inequity, healing trauma, reframing justice, inspiring truth and shaping futures.”



This week the California Arts Council announced a grant award of $18,000 to PEN America LA to support its Emerging Voices Fellowships offering literary mentorship to new writers isolated from the literary establishment.

“Emerging Voices is grateful to receive support from the California Arts Council, allowing us to continue our decades-long mission to enrich and diversify the literary community in Los Angeles and beyond at a critical time for writers and their stories,” Michelle Franke, Executive Director of PEN America LA.

City of Los Angeles flag

Local Impact supports community-driven arts projects for small and mid-sized arts organizations to foster equity, access, and opportunity in historically marginalized communities. The program centers the arts as a vehicle for building strong, healthy, vibrant, and resilient communities. Historically marginalized communities may include but are not limited to African and African American; Arab; Asian and Asian American; Latinx; Middle Eastern; Native American and Indigenous Californian; Pacific Islander; lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender and gender-variant people; people with disabilities; women; low-income, rural, or immigrant and refugee communities.

PEN America LA is one of 190 grantees chosen for the Local Impact program. The award was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, with grant funds totaling a projected $24,508,541 for 2018-19, the highest investment in statewide arts programming since the 2000-01 fiscal year.

“Arts and culture are inextricably linked to our humanity,” said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair. “They serve as a universal touchpoint for understanding and addressing our societal issues—dismantling inequity, healing trauma, reframing justice, inspiring truth and shaping futures.”

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Larry Baza, Juan Devis, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, and Louise McGuinness. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.

*****

PEN.org logo

PEN America has joined forces with the former PEN Center USA in California as one nationwide organization united under the PEN America banner. Now with 7,000 members coast-to-coast, PEN is an even stronger force to defend against looming threats to open discourse and a free press, to stand with writers and creators who face persecution, and to celebrate literary excellence both established and emerging. The PEN America Los Angeles office, led by Executive Director Michelle Franke, remains a vital hub for carrying on established programs and expanding advocacy in defense of free expression worldwide and other new initiatives.

This post courtesy of PEN America and the California Arts Council.  Illustrations are in the public domain.



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



 

Opportunity Knocks: 11 Calls for Submissions and 3 Competitions

Davoser Café by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1928 / Public Domain

“But as Brillat-Savarin has correctly observed, coffee sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it accelerates the digestive processes, chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects. It is on this last point, in particular, that I want to add my personal experience to Brillat-Savarin’s observations.” Honoré de Balzac, The Pleasures and Pain of Coffee [This links to the complete essay translated from the French.]



Of Note: 

Gwendolyn Brooks was born on this day in 1917: Celebrating American She-Poets (23): Gwendolyn Brooks, Journalist, Poet, living in the along …

Opportunity Knocks replaces Sunday Announcements. I post it when there are enough leads. Many leads are only announced on The Poet by Day Facebook Page.

Links to articles, events and news of interest to poets and writers are regularly published on The Poet by Day FaceBook Page.  

You are welcome (encouraged) to share your work and announcements on The BeZine Arts and Humanities Facebook Group Discussion Page

MARK YOU CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 is 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE, GLOBAL, 2019 and THE BeZINE 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE VIRTUAL EVENT, hosted by Michael Dickel.  Look for updates on this site, The BeZine,  and at 100tpc.org

Join us for this week’s WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT, How to Be a Poet; poems submitted on theme in response to Wednesday Writing Prompt are posted the following Tuesday, making a lovely collection for poets and readers.   



“THE BeZINE” CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS thebezine.com is open for the upcoming June edition to be published on June 15, deadline June 10. This is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. We are unable to pay contributors but neither do we charge for submissions or subscriptions. The theme is sustainability. We publish poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, feature articles, art and photography, and music videos and will consider anything that lends itself to online posting. There are no demographic restrictions. We do not publish work that promotes hatred or advocates for violence. All such will be immediately rejected. We’d like to see work that doesn’t just point to problems but that suggests solutions. We are also interested in initiatives happening in your community – no matter where in the world – that might be easily picked up by other communities. Please forward your submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com No odd formatting. Submit work in the body of your email along with a BRIEF bio. Work submitted via Facebook or message will not be considered for publication. We encourage you to submit work in your first language, but it must be accompanied by translation into English. / Jamie Dedes



THE BANGALOR REVIEW is a monthly digital magazine promoting literature, arts, culture, criticism, and philosophy through the publication of literary fiction, creative non-fiction, reviews, criticism, poetry and art. “If you happen to be in love with life and think that your words can generate a vision, send us a shout – we’ll probably like your work.” Submission fee. Honorarium to one contributor each quarter. Details HERE

THE FABULIST publishes fables, yearns, tales and fantastical very and art in both digital and print editions. Submissions close on Tuesday, June 10. Details HERE.

eFICTION INDIA publishes fiction, flash fiction, poetry, art, interviews and book reviews. It provides a few unique services: ad listings for writers, free ad listings for contributing writer, assistance with film distribution in accepted after review. No submissions fees except for the premium level (i.e., accelerated response) under Independent Film. Details HERE.

HIRAM POETRY REVIEW, Distinctive, witty, and heroic poetry since 1966 reads submission year-round. No submission fee. U.S. poets submit by snail-mail. International poets may submit by email.  Details HERE.

NEW OHIO REVIEW will open for submission of poems, short stories and essays on September 15.  Submission fee and discounted one-year subscription. Mark your calendar. Details HERE.

THE PASSED NOTE REVIEW is a digital publication offering fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and visual arts for young adults ages twelve through nineteen. This press also publishes shrt fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry for its blog. Details HERE.

POETS READING THE NEWS publishes unsolicited and original poetry and prose about current events from around the world and “encourages writers of all backgrounds to submit their writing, in particular writers of color, women writers, emergent writers, LGBTQI+ writers, and writers from regions near and far.” Submission fee. No payment. Details HERE.

POETS READING THE NEWS STONEWALL RIOTS POETRY CHALLENGE ends in a scant three days as of this posting.  It’s an ekphrastic challenge. No fee. No payment. Details HERE.

SNAIL MAIL NATURE TRAIL, Youth Art and Poetry, Nature Journal from Tiny Seed Literary Press focuses on post card submissions from children and youth. Cute! If you have young children, please do check it out HERE.

TINY SEED LITERARY JOURNAL focuses on nature and publishes short fiction, poetry, art, and photography by established and emerging writers & artists. Submissions for the fall issue (September publication) open July 15. Submission fee. 10% goes to Nature Conservancy. No payment. Details HERE.

COMPETITIONS


University of Sydney, School of Literature, Art and Media:

THE HELEN ANNE BELL POETRY BEQUEST AWARD 2019 offers cash award and publication with Vagabond Press for a winning collection by an Australian Women over 18 years.  No entry fee. Closes August 2, 2019. Details HERE.

THE DAVID HAROLD TRIBE FICTION PRIZE 2019 offers a generous cash award to a writer living in Australia. Publication. No entry fee. Closes on August 2, 2019. Details HERE.


TIFERET JOURNAL, Fostering Peace Through Literature & Art has extended the closing date on this year’s contest to June 14. $1,500 will be awarded in prizes: $500 for the best poetry submission; $500 for the best short story (fiction); and, $500 for the best essay or interview (non-fiction. Entry fee. Details HERE.


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



 

Poetry Archive: OPA Anthology of Poetry, 2019: Spirit of Nature, Call for Submissions / Second Light Featured Poets for May

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”  Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar



THE POETRY ARCHIVE “extends an open invitation to you to participate in the upcoming OPA ANTHOLOGY of Poetry 2019 “SPIRIT OF NATURE”. The expected date of publication of this Anthology is 10th JULY 2019. We’ll be really obliged if you would contribute to this anthology with at least three poems along with your current profile picture. You can also add your short Bio written only in 3rd person narrative. Submission of poetry to our mail address will be considered as the explicit confirmation of your permission to publish your copyrighted materials in OPA ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY 2019. Please do send your contributions attached only in one single MS-WORD file with your mail at the earliest.”

Deadline: 10th June 2019

The email address for this ANTHOLOGY is opa.anthology@gmail.com
* .pdf file is not acceptable!

Thank You,
The Editorial Board:
Our Poetry Archive.

Thanks to German poet Aprilia Zank for sharing this lead with us.  You can read some of Aprilia’s wonderful work here on The Poet by Day:


THANK YOU to Dilys Wood, Anne Stewart, and Myra Schneider for including me in Second Light Live Featured Poets for May with my poem One Lifetime After Another. The other featured poets with whom I am honored to be included are: Angela Croft, Clare Crossman, Fokkina McDonnell, Jenny Hamlett, Lynne Wycherley, Mimi Khalvati, Pam Zinnemann-Hope, Sue Wood and Vivienne Tregenza. Great little collection for your evening read and my apologies to Anne for not catching her email announcement until this late date. Second Light Live is the website for Second Light Network of Women Poets (UK). SLN publishes fabulous anthologies and “ARTEMISpoetry” one of my fave poetry magazines.


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