American Indian Joy Harjo – 2020 Special Guest at Palm Beach Poetry Festival is Named U.S. Poet Laureate

By:  Krishna  •  Famous Americans in the Arts  •  2 years ago  •  18 comments

American Indian Joy Harjo – 2020 Special Guest at Palm Beach Poetry Festival is Named U.S. Poet Laureate
Joy Harjo Becomes The 1st Native American U. S. Poet Laureate.


Joy Harjo – 2020 Special Guest and U.S. Poet Laureate

I hadn't spoken to Susan Williamson in some time. She is one of my oldest and dearest friends but we don't speak often,  so she was one of several friends from years ago that I phoned on Christmas Eve to "touch base".

She is a poet and also director of the yearly Palm Beach Poetry Festival . This is an important event in the world of poetry, but she mentioned that this years it was especially important since the current American Poet Laureate was to be a special guest. 

And interestingly, the current American Poet Laureate is the first Indian to hold that position!

The Festival congratulates   Joy Harjo,   our Special Guest Poet at the 16th annual festival, for her being named the 23rd United States Poet Laureate. We announced earlier that Harjo would be Special Guest Poet at the upcoming festival, where she will be interviewed by faculty poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, and will deliver the annual Thomas Lux Memorial Reading following the festival gala.

“This is the second time that the Palm Beach Poetry Festival will host a sitting poet laureate of the United States, though we have featured many others before they were named or after they served,” said Williamson. “We could not be more thrilled to congratulate and welcome Joy Harjo, whose poetry often merges the global and the personal, and the imagery of the natural world with that of the inner one.” ( Cont'd )

Many articles & mentions have appeared since the news was released:

Joy Harjo Named U.S. Poet Laureate – New York Times, June 19, 2019

Joy Harjo Becomes First Native American U.S. Poet Laureate, NPR June 19, 2019 (listen)

Related Article:

Native Americans, The Census' Most Undercounted Racial Group, Fight For An Accurate 2020 Tally


jrBlog - desc
Professor Principal
1  author  Krishna    2 years ago

Harjo, who sees poetry as “an immense conversation of the soul,” also was recently named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses.

Professor Principal
2  author  Krishna    2 years ago

Her memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award.

Her ninth book of poetry, An American Sunrise, will be published in August.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3  Buzz of the Orient    2 years ago

A wonderful honour for a very deserving recipient.  

Professor Principal
3.1  author  Krishna  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    2 years ago

And long overdue!

Professor Principal
4  Kavika     2 years ago

Ms Harjo is a living legend among the Indian people of the US...Her life has been as an advocate for Natives and this great honor is well deserved. 

 Ms Harjo is a member of the  Mvskoke/Creek Nation.

Raven Wing
Professor Principal
5  Raven Wing    2 years ago

Ms Harjo truly is a great artist and certainly deserves the honor and recognition of her wonderful work.

She not only makes her people proud, but, all Native Americans. Her talent is truly awesome.

Freshman Silent
5.1  posleeper  replied to  Raven Wing @5    2 years ago

I have learned and am continuing to learn so much that I did not previously know before I read and researched Ms. Harjo's work. I heard her read and present two years ago in Tampa when she played a flute that silenced the audience to reverence in her reading. I saw her in Miami earlier this year when her publisher made a gift of books to the schools and at her readings ... She appeared with Natalie Diaz, another poet and author whose first poetry book is called, "When My Brother Was An Aztec." I love Ms. Harjo's memoir, "Crazy Brave" also. I am inspired to learn more.

Raven Wing
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  posleeper @5.1    2 years ago

Hello posleeper, and welcome to NewsTakers!

Like you, I am an avid learner. My mind is open in so many directions. To me, poetry is not just some words that compile a rhymed verse. For me, great poetry has a Spirit of its own, and imparts that Spirit to the reader or listener. That is what I find so fascinating about Ms. Harjo's poetry. 

When reading her poetry I feel my own Spirit lifted, and learn from the Spirit of the meaning of the words that truly moves and enlightens me to things I might not have thought about before.

It is more than just poetry, it is an inspirational journey that I am so thankful that I took.

Professor Guide
6  1stwarrior    2 years ago

One of the things I love about Ms. Harjo is her sense of humor.  She can get you with a zinger, said with such a deadpanned face that, when you actually get what she said, you'll laugh for hours and never forget it.

Freshman Silent
6.1  posleeper  replied to  1stwarrior @6    2 years ago

Yes! I have seen this.

Freshman Silent
7  posleeper    2 years ago

Thank you Krishna. It was so great to hear from you! I don't know how exciting any of this group will find the news of Joy Harjo, but I could not be more honored to host her at the upcoming festival. The other poets who will be featured are also recipients of many awards and honors. Ms. Harjo has made a great splash for poetry and her own mission in this new role and I am learning so much as we all work to present the week long event that is the poetry festival in January.

Professor Principal
9  Kavika     2 years ago

I was delighted to see that Ms Harjo will be at the festival. 

She is an inspiration to us native people and I'm sure that they more you learn about her and all her works you'll be more and more delighted.

It would be great if you could take some photos of the festival and Ms Harjo and post them here.

Eagle Poem

By Joy Harjo 
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
9.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @9    2 years ago

What a beautiful poem. Inspirational and shares a big part of Indian culture. Just wonderful.  

Professor Principal
9.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @9.1    2 years ago
Inspirational and shares a big part of Indian culture.

Indeed it does. 

It will probably shock you that I do love poetry. Another favorite poet of my is Louise Erdrich

A winner of many awards and her last book, ''The Round House'' won numerous awards.

This particular poem will have great meaning to many Indians.

Indian Boarding School: The Runaways - Poem by Louise Erdrich

Home’s the place we head for in our sleep. 
Boxcars stumbling north in dreams
don’t wait for us. We catch them on the run. 
The rails, old lacerations that we love, 
shoot parallel across the face and break 
just under Turtle Mountains. Riding scars
you can’t get lost. Home is the place they cross.

The lame guard strikes a match and makes the dark 
less tolerant. We watch through cracks in boards 
as the land starts rolling, rolling till it hurts 
to be here, cold in regulation clothes.
We know the sheriff’s waiting at midrun
to take us back. His car is dumb and warm.
The highway doesn’t rock, it only hums
like a wing of long insults. The worn-down welts 
of ancient punishments lead back and forth.

All runaways wear dresses, long green ones,
the color you would think shame was. We scrub 
the sidewalks down because it's shameful work. 
Our brushes cut the stone in watered arcs 
and in the soak frail outlines shiver clear
a moment, things us kids pressed on the dark 
face before it hardened, pale, remembering
delicate old injuries, the spines of names and leaves.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
9.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @9.1.1    2 years ago

A poetic description of boarding school - now here is a visual one, a drawing by Alanis Obomsawin, of the Abanake Tribe.


Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
9.1.3  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @9.1.1    2 years ago

Hearbreaking poem, but beautifully told. Thank you for sharing this. 

Raven Wing
Professor Principal
9.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @9    2 years ago

A truly awesome poem. It spurs a lot of thought as well.

Professor Principal
10  author  Krishna    6 months ago

Update (6/11/2021) - Related Article:

Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today

Writers Louise Erdrich and Natalie Diaz were named winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in the categories of fiction and poetry — also included was Marty Two Bulls Sr. who was named a finalist in editorial cartooning on Friday.

Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe
Pulitzer winner in fiction
“The Night Watchman”

Natalie Diaz, Mohave and Gila River Indian Community
Pulitzer winner in poetry
“Postcolonial Love Poem”

Marty Two Bulls Sr., Oglala Lakota
Pulitzer finalist for editorial cartoonist