Every day has something in
it whose name is Forever.
~ Mary Oliver, from the poem, “Forever”
From the Library of Congress Email Digest:
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced on June 19, 2019 that Joy Harjo had received the appointment of 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.
“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.”
Read some of Harjo’s poetry at this link from the Poetry Foundation.
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.
Related Information: Hooray for Joy! The Library Has a New Poet Laureate
Poetry is Part of Literacy and Lifelong Reading
Here’s is my current favorite poem
What is usual is not what is always.
As sometimes, in old age, hearing comes back.
Footsteps resume their clipped edges,
birds quiet for decades migrate back to the ear.
Where were they? By what route did they return?
A woman mute for years
forms one perfect sentence before she dies.
The bitter young man tires;
the aged one sitting now in his body is tender,
his face carries no regret for his choices.
What is usual is not what is always, the day says again.
It is all it can offer.
Not ungraspable hope, not the consolation of stories.
Only the reminder that there is exception.
Juan Felipe Herrera has been named as the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States in an announced appointment by James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. Herrera’s term will take place from 2015 to 2016. (GalleyCat)
A poet of Chicano descent, the 66-year-old has spent just about his whole life on the West Coast. Born to a family of migrant farmworkers, Herrera bounced from tent to trailer for much of his youth in Southern California, eventually studying at UCLA and Stanford.
Herrera will succeed current Poet Laureate Charles Wright. Herrera is the poet who wrote “Border-Crosser With A Lamborghini Dream” and “187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border,” among many other poems. (NYT)
The laureate position involves crafting poetry projects and broadening the audience for poetry. The 2013-2014 poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey, launched a series of reports from locations nationwide for a PBS NewsHour poetry series to explore societal issues. (HuffPost / AP)
Dating back to the 1300’s in Italy where the first poet laureates were named, over a dozen countries continue the poet laureate tradition today. The first U.S. poet laureate was Joseph Auslander. Ten U.S. states also name their own poets laureate.