Joy Harjo, the current U.S. Poet Laureate, has been reappointed to a third term by the Library of Congress. Harjo is only the second poet laureate to serve three consecutive terms since the position was established in 1985. (The first was Robert Pinsky.)
This news comes just a few days after Harjo—who is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and the first Native U.S. Poet Laureate—launched her poet laureate project “Living Nations, Living Words,” an online map featuring work and recordings from contemporary Native poets across the country.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden wrote in a statement announcing the reappointment that Harjo “has shown how poetry can help steady us and nurture us” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And Harjo is honored to serve during the pandemic as well: “We always go to poetry in times of transformation, you know—birth, death, marriage, falling in love, out of love,” she told PBS NewsHour. “But here we are at a time of tremendous transformation—and where do we go? And here we are with poetry. And I get to help during this huge, transformative event that we’re all part of.”
[via Poetry Foundation]