New York, NY (June 19, 2019)— The Academy of American Poets congratulates Joy Harjo on being named our nation’s newest Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress and Librarian Carla Hayden. Harjo, who was elected an Academy Chancellor earlier this year, received the Academy’s Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery in the art of poetry in 2015.
"It’s quite an honor, and I’m just at the very beginning. I’m assessing how I can be most useful in this position and, of course, it’s going to have a lot to do with Native Nations poets," said Harjo. "I always tell my students about poetry ancestors. Every poem has so many poetry ancestors. How can we construct a poetry ancestor map of America that would include and start off with poetry of indigenous nations? Those strands would continue into the present with the wonderful young Native poets we have right now."
"As a poet, a teacher, and a literary leader Joy Harjo has touched many lives and many communities. She now has what is one of the largest platforms a poet can aspire to and it is a well-deserved honor. We're thrilled for Joy and for the nation on this historic appointment,” said Michael Jacobs, Chairman of the Academy of American Poets.
Harjo is the author of several books of poetry, including An American Sunrise (forthcoming, W.W. Norton, September 2019); 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 memoir Crazy Brave (W. W. Norton, 2012) won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary award for creative nonfiction. Harjo has also published collections of interviews and conversations, children's books, and collaborative art texts.
“We’ve enjoyed wonderful partnerships with our Poets Laureate. Since the position was created in 1937—a year after our organization was incorporated—more than half of the poets in this esteemed role have been Academy Chancellors. We look forward to continuing our tradition of celebrating our nation’s Poet Laureate and supporting Joy however we might,” said Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets.
About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is our nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry. Founded in 1934, the organization produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; Teach This Poem and other resources for K-12 educators; an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and awards more funds to poets than any other organization. It also coordinates and supports the work of a national Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 poetry organizations working to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.