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NEA Big Read

Joy Harjo

Want to know more about Joy Harjo and her book, ‘An American Sunrise’?

Check out these videos and interviews


"Place is central to identity, to the imagery and shape of poems, no matter what country, culture or geographical place," Joy Harjo

Harjo creates map featuring Native Nations poets and poems

The Library of Congress recently release U.S. Poet Laureature's project, "Living Nations Living Words: A Map of First People’s Poetry." Harjo explains the importance of her mapping tool.

"For my signature project as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, I conceived the idea of mapping the U.S. with Native Nations poets and poems. I want this map to counter damaging false assumptions — that indigenous peoples of our country are often invisible or are not seen as human. You will not find us fairly represented, if at all, in the cultural storytelling of America, and nearly nonexistent in the American book of poetry.

"Like other living American poets, Native Nations poets use the tools of knowledge and creativity to ride the waves of language, even as we also tend to our indigenous cultural systems and communities. Our common language of English, or sometimes Spanish, is a crossing place, a place to meet many from all over the world. And, like any other group of humans, we travel for economic opportunities, for education, for love, and for adventure. 

"Though we may venture far from our origin story, we are bound by genealogy, by land, even by instinct."



Harjo gives presentation at American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo headlined the Jan. 24, 2021, President’s Program at the 2021 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual. Harjo, a member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation and the first Indigenous U.S. poet laureate, joined her longtime Norton editor, Jill Bialosky, for a discussion about the importance of poetry and collecting Indigenous stories.


Joy Harjo will serve a rare third term as U.S. Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has announced the appointment of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to a third term, making Harjo the second laureate to receive this extension since terms for the position were established in 1943.

Harjo’s third term, to begin in September 2021, will offer her an opportunity to complete projects and programs whose timelines continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more at


Harjo reads her poem, Running, on PBS NewsHour

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo reads her poem "Running," which appears in her latest poetry collection, "An American Sunrise."


2020 National Book Festival

This program from the 2020 National Book Festival features Rita Dove, "Collected Poems: 1974-2004" (Norton), and Joy Harjo, "An American Sunrise: Poems" (Norton). Dove was the first African American Poet Laureate of the United States (1993-1995), and Harjo is the current U.S. Poet Laureate and the first Native American to serve in the position. Here they share remembrances of their time as students together and discuss changes in our culture and literature since.


Poetry in times of crisis

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden talks with her U.S. Poets Laureate appointees, Tracy K. Smith (2017-2019) and Joy Harjo (2019-current), about poetry in times of crisis as well as its enduring power to promote social justice.


News about Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo’s official website:

More on Harjo's career:

The Poetry of Home, sponsored by the Library and Congress and the Washington Post, featuring Joy Harjo:

Harjo on PBS: How a new Native poetry anthology fills a gap in American literature:

In this interview Harjo discusses indigenous poets and poetry:

Joy Harjo is one of the speakers at the 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival during the weekend of Sept. 25-27, 2020: Library of Congress Celebrates 'American Ingenuity' and Takes 2020 National Book Festival Online for Readers Everywhere


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

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