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

100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Compilation & Curriculum; U.S. Library of Congress Literacy Awards

POETRY IS GOOD FOR DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING In child education, children’s verbal and written skills are somewhat underdeveloped. Poetry helps by teaching in rhythm, stringing words together with a beat helps cognitive understanding of words and where they fit. Additionally, it teaches children the art of creative expression, which most found highly lacking in the new-age educational landscape. In essence, poetry gives them a great tool for developing one’s self.” MORE Robert Lee Brewer, Senior Editor of Writers’ Digest



READ A POEM TO A CHILD WEEK

September 23rd – September 28th 2019

The compilation and curriculum are the result of a collaboration among 100,000 Poets for Change, Florida State University, and Reading Is Fundamental with selections from The John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection of Florida State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

Download the Poetry Compilation for Readers.pdf

Download the curriculum Simple ways to make poetry engaging 2.0  and the poetry workbook.

Freely accessible Sound Cloud playlist of 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Initiative



“As centuries of dictators have known, an illiterate crowd is the easiest to rule; since the craft of reading cannot be untaught once it has been acquired, the second-best recourse is to limit its scope.”  Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading



Three organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading in the United States and worldwide will be awarded the 2019 Library of Congress Literacy Awards at the National Book Festival gala, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced yesterday.

Hayden and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein will award the top prizes to: ProLiteracy Worldwide of Syracuse, New York; American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults of Baltimore; and ConTextos of Chicago.

David M. Rubenstein

The Literacy Awards, originated by Rubenstein in 2013, honor organizations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work. They spotlight the need for communities worldwide to unite in working for universal literacy.

“Literacy is the ticket to learning, opportunity and empowerment on a global scale,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress is proud to honor and celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary organizations in their efforts to advance reading levels and give people the foundation for a better life.”

Prizes and Recipients

David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): ProLiteracy Worldwide, Syracuse, New York
ProLiteracy Worldwide advances and supports programs to help adults acquire literacy skills needed to function more effectively in their daily lives. It has 1,000 member programs across 50 states and works with 30 partners in 25 countries to provide a wide range of adult literacy and basic education services to vulnerable populations. ProLiteracy builds capacity among frontline literacy providers by modeling proven instructional approaches, developing affordable, evidence-based learning resources, and providing professional development and technical assistance. ProLiteracy was formed by the 2002 merger of Laubach Literacy International (founded in 1955) and Literacy Volunteers of America (founded in 1962). For more than 60 years, ProLiteracy has scaled successful practices and driven advocacy efforts by activating its grassroots network, resulting in a broad and sustained effort to improve and advance adult literacy at the community level.

American Prize ($50,000): American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, Baltimore
Established in 1919, the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is a service agency that assists blind and deaf-blind persons in securing reading matter, educates the public about blindness, provides specialized aids and appliances to the blind, gives consultation to governmental and private agencies serving the blind, offers assistance to those losing vision in their later years, offers services to blind children and their parents, and works toward improving the quality of life for the blind and deaf-blind. This includes services such as free braille books, free braille calendars and free white canes. Central to the organization’s work has been a commitment to braille literacy and the knowledge that braille is the only true means for literacy for the blind.

International Prize ($50,000): ConTextos, Chicago
ConTextos brings literacy to schools, prisons and communities in El Salvador via two programs: Soy Lector (I’m a Reader) and Soy Autor (I’m an author). The Soy Lector Program trains local community members and teachers to develop libraries to encourage reading and the discussion of ideas in the community and schools. The Soy Autor Program encourages youth affected by violence to write their memoirs. Through this writing exercise, they work through the effect that violence has had on their life, either as a victim or perpetrator. In the process, participants develop critical literacy skills. The program has been replicated in Guatemala and Honduras and continues to grow. To date, ConTextos has created 84 libraries across El Salvador; 11,092 students have access to high-quality books; and 853 young authors have published their memoirs.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is also honoring 15 organizations for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. These best practice honorees are:

  • Bring Me a Book, Redwood City, California
  • The Conscious Connect, Springfield, Ohio
  • Friends of Matènwa, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Hartford Public Library, Hartford, Connecticut
  • The Jane Stern Dorado Community Library, Dorado, Puerto Rico
  • Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, New York City
  • LitWorld International Inc., New York City
  • Meridian Library District, Meridian, Idaho
  • Nal’ibali Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
  • One World Education, Washington, D.C.
  • The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Razia’s Ray of Hope, Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Ready for Reading, Dorset, Vermont
  • Riecken Community Libraries, Washington, D.C.
  • Western Massachusetts Writing Project, Amherst, Massachusetts

David M. Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council. More information on the awards is available at read.gov/literacyawards.

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



 

Poet and Writer Denis Johnson (d. May 24) to receive posthumous award for fiction

“English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.” Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son


Upon being offered the prize in March, Johnson said, “The list of past awardees is daunting, and I’m honored to be in such company. My head’s spinning from such great news!” After a protracted struggle with liver cancer, Denis Johnson died on May 24 of this year. He was sixty-seven.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced last week that Denis Johnson (July 1, 1949 – May 24, 2017), author of the critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Jesus’ Son, and the novel Tree of Smoke, will posthumously receive the U.S. Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2017 Library of Congress National Book Festival, Sept. 2.

The National Book Festival and the prize ceremony will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The author’s widow, Cindy Johnson, will accept the prize.

Hayden chose Johnson based on the recommendation of a jury of distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world.

“Denis Johnson was a writer for our times,” Hayden said. “In prose that fused grace with grit, he spun tale after tale about our walking wounded, the demons that haunt, the salvation we seek. We emerge from his imagined world with profound empathy, a different perspective—a little changed.”

Johnson was born in Munich, West Germany, the son of an American diplomat, and spent his childhood in the Philippines and Japan before returning to spend the rest of his youth in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He is the author of nine novels, as well as many plays, poetry collections, a short-story collection and a novella. Johnson won the National Book Award for his resonant Vietnam novel Tree of Smoke (2007), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

His short novel Train Dreams (2012) was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent work, The Laughing Monsters, was published in 2014. Johnson’s many other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations and a Whiting Award.

Johnson’s characters were down on their luck (at least in the work that I’ve read) and created out of his own life and experience of being benched early on by alcohol and drugs, psychiatric care in his early twenties and after his first marriage. It apparently took him some time to realize that his addictions did nothing for his creativity. Once he became sober his output was prodigious. The eleven stories in Jesus’ Son, considered by many to be Johnson’s preeminent work, are linked by the same drug-addicted narrator. The fictions depict criminal activities in various parts of the U.S.

“The traveling salesmen fed me pills that made the lining of my veins feel scraped out, my jaw ached… I knew every raindrop by its name, I sensed everything before it happened. Like I knew a certain Oldsmobile would stop even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside, I knew we’d have an accident in the rain. I didn’t care. They said they’d take me all the way.”
― Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

Part of this write-up is courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress