Joy Harjo, forner Poet Laureate of the United States is the first Native American poet to have served in that position.
She is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 9, 1951, and is the author of nine books of poetry—including “An American Sunrise” (2019); “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” (2015); “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” (1994), which received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and “In Mad Love and War” (1990), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award.
Harjo has also written two memoirs, “Crazy Brave” (2012) and “Poet Warrior” (2021), as well as a children’s book, “The Good Luck Cat” (2000), and a young adult book, “For a Girl Becoming” (2009).
“Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry—‘soul talk’ as she calls it—for over four decades,”Harjo currently lives in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is the nation’s first Poet Laureate from Oklahoma.
“What a tremendous honor was 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’s second term began Sept. 1, 2020, and she launched her signature laureate project, “Living Nations, Living Words,” on Nov. 19, 2020. This digital project gathers a sampling of work by 47 contemporary Native poets from across the nation. Developed in conjunction with the Library’s include Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets