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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

“Ithaca”, a poem by C. P. Cavafy. This was Jackie Kennedy’s favorite poem. It was read at her memorial service.

House-museum of Cavafy, Alexandria courtesy of Roland Unger under CC BY-SA 3.0

“In these dark rooms I pass
such listless days, I wander up and down
looking for the windows – when a window opens
there will be some relief.
But there are no windows, or at least
I cannot find them. And perhaps it’s just as well.
Perhaps the light would prove another torment.
Who knows what new things it would reveal?
C.P. Cavafy, Windows  



When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

– Constantine P. Cavafy

Poems courtesy of Poem Hunter.

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this video of Sean Connery reading “Ithaca.”

Constantine Peter Cavafy (Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis) (1863 – 1933) was an Egyptian-Greek poet, journalist and civil servant. His singular style earned him a place among important figures in both Greek and Western poetry. Cavafy wrote 154 poems, most after he turned forty. His poems were officially published posthumously. You’ll find many of Cavafy’s poems online and there are several collections of complete poems and selected poems, unfinished poems, and an Oxford Word Classics edition with Greek and English side-by-side. The Onassis Foundation hosts a comprehensive site, The Poet, His Oeuvre and His Era, which is quite interesting. In 2014 Pen America hosted a celebration to honor Cavafy that includes readings by André Aciman, Michael Cunningham, Mark Doty, Olympia Dukakis, Craig Dykers (of Snøhetta), Edmund Keeley, Daniel Mendelsohn, Orhan Pamuk, Dimitris Papaioannou, and Kathleen Turner. Find it 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 * 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

Heads-up poets and poetry lovers in Hamilton Ontario and surrounding area: Save the Date


 

MICHAEL DICKEL a poet, fiction writer, and photographer, has taught at various colleges and universities in Israel and the United States. Dickel’s writing, art, and photographs appear in print and online. His poetry has won international awards and been translated into several languages. His chapbook, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism came out from Locofo Chaps in 2017. Is a Rose Press released his most recent full-length book (flash fiction), The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, in 2016. Previous books: War Surrounds Us, Midwest / Mid-East, and The World Behind It, Chaos… He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36(2010). He was managing editor for arc-23 and arc-24. With producer / director David Fisher, he received an NEH grant to write a film script about Yiddish theatre. He is the former chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. Meta/ Phor(e) /Play is Michael’s blogZine Michael on Social Media: Twitter | FaceBook Page | Instagram | Academia  Michael is also an a member of The BeZine core team.

THE POETRY OF RUSS GREEN and PHILIP ASAPH

Russ Green

Breathe

I’m untangling the past in night time stillness
with Pandora’s box lying under ferns of a fearsome
interpersonal jungle. I couldn’t see
what feet had tread here. The rains had come and washed
away footprints, coagulated into mud.
I released my grip on the chunk of granite curled
in my hand, soothed by the running of relentless water.

Memories of digging for hours in my best and only
friend’s back yard just trying to make it to the next level
of earth. Always hoping to find water.

Granite is made of several types of rock mashed together
by the pressure of the inner earth. Among them, K-Feldspar,
the sweet parts of the conglomeration. Bright pink spots of joy
peeking out from even the roughest earth. That’s where the gods
and goddesses are found.

The lump in the throat when life gets so heavy.
Truth rock, lodged right there in the center
of the neck where it can’t be ignored. It’s the shaky
voice. Truth lodged against the voice box.
But every experience vibrates waves of trauma
the world has offered me and I have excepted…
or not.

Eat the arrow before it’s launched.
It’s perception. Einstein told us that just before
he combed his hair. His wife thinking
she’d witnessed the impossible.

Buddhist monks, weeks of working
on colorful creations of delicate sand and splendor.

They wipe it all away.

Firesong

Fire in the belly of a one-man relief army
in Gatlinburg. Fire in the wounds of the locals
who fled the burning hills and hollers
of those Tennessee towns. Fire won’t ask you
who you voted for before it consumes
everything you knew. Fire won’t ask you
why you have no desire to run from the flames.
Fire won’t ask you about the cutting
on your forearms and legs. It won’t ask you
about the childhood scars that cut so deep
into your emotional cavity that you can’t
trust the burning embers of that longed for
first kiss.

Fire in the words of the digital
battleground. Civility and kinship charred
among the remains. Fire won’t ask you
about the rocks in your stomach
that won’t allow you to eat
after your best friend turned his back on you
leaving you curled up and weeping for days
at the end of that broken down old fishing dock
where you used to write poems together
on Sundays.

Fire on the tongue of a construction worker
singing folk songs in Detroit while nobody knew
but for the whole country of South Africa
and they turned him into an Anti-Apartheid
icon. Guitar pick fingernails in the workingman’s wheel
with the dust and soot of that city pulsing
through down to his capillaries. A song about a teenager having sex
that sparked a revolution. Fire in the sheets of a bed-in
in Montreal lasting two weeks just try to give peace
a goddammed chance. The image singed with the memory
of gunfire splitting open the Upper West Side night.
Fire in every syllable of a civil rights savior—
come to Memphis to stand

with the sanitation workers. The fire that still burns
through the words of Maya, Ta-Nahisi and Michelle.
Fire in the thin bones of a liberator making his own salt
from the sea, in the restless hands of a nun in Calcutta,
in the fire dancer’s visions of co-mingling
cultures. Creating a world without collisions.

Fire in the feat of the marching protestors
on Fifth Avenue, building their tower
of song for the South Shore social
workers and teachers, singers
and Salutatorians. Marine Biologists too late
to save the washed up whale beached on the South Fork
of this divided island. And the burning need to stick a fork
in both forks of that overdone East End of white privilidge.

Chants for the word mavens telling it slant.
Fire in the third chakra on a yoga
mat in Killington channeling the chi,
the life force—balancing
the breath into hope.

© 2017, poems and photo, Russ Green, All rights reserved

RUSS GREEN is a Graduate of Hofstra University. Over the years he has been co-editor at Great Weather for Media and has put on poetry and arts events around Long Island and New York city in addition to hosting and curating poetry stages at various festivals.

Russ has read his work from New York to New Orleans to Santa Fe and cities in between. He is currently focusing on humanitarian based events. His first book, Gimme Back My Radio, is out with Night Ballet Press. In addition, Russ has been published in a number of anthologies. He can usually be found communing with the mountains in Vermont with interesting artist friends or roaming the docks of Port Jefferson Harbor at night looking for signs of life in the starry night sky.


PHILIP ASAPH was a furniture mover for most of his life. He won scholarships and fellowships to Eckerd College, Bucknell University and New York University. His stories and poems have appeared in Glimmer Train, Poetry, The Huminist, Tampa Review and elsewhere. Philip’s new book, Four Short Stories and Ten Love Poems is recently published.

Here is Philip reading three of his poems. If you are viewing this via an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to The Poet by Day to listen to the reading.


TONIGHT @ THE SMITHTOWN LIBRARY

RUSS GREEN and PHILLIP ASAPH will read their poetry this evening from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EST at The Smithtown Library, 1 N Country Road, Smithtown, New York. The event is hosted by poet and writer, Gladys Henderson.  She says, “You are in for an outstanding night of poetry. These men understand life, have experience; you will be mesmerized by their sonics and the quality of their work.”


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