Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry Available via Library of Congress

Source: Library of Congress
Source: Library of Congress

Collected and with Introduction by Joy Harjo, 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate; Foreword by Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

Edited by Joy Harjo, the first Native poet to serve as US Poet Laureate, LIVING NATIONS, LIVING WORDS: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry is a powerful, moving anthology that celebrates the breadth of Native poets writing today. The new anthology is published by W. W. Norton & Company in association with the Library of Congress.

As Poet Laureate, Harjo has championed the voices of Native peoples past and present. Her signature laureate project at the Library of Congress gathers the work of 47 contemporary Native poets into a national, fully digital map of story, sound and space, celebrating their vital and unequivocal contributions to American poetry.

“LIVING NATIONS, LIVING WORDS: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry” published May 4, 2021 by W. W. Norton & Co. in association with the Library of Congress.
“LIVING NATIONS, LIVING WORDS: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry” published May 4, 2021 by W. W. Norton & Co. in association with the Library of Congress.

This companion anthology features each poem and poet from the project – including Natalie Diaz, Ray Young Bear, Craig Santos Perez, Sherwin Bitsui and Layli Long Soldier, among others – to offer readers a chance to hold the wealth of poetry in their hands. The chosen poems reflect on the themes of place and displacement with focal points of visibility, persistence, resistance and acknowledgment. Each poem showcases, as Harjo writes in her stirring introduction, “that heritage is a living thing, and there can be no heritage without land and the relationships that outline our kinship.”

In this country, poetry is rooted in the more than 500 living Indigenous nations. “LIVING NATIONS, LIVING WORDS” is a representative offering. The anthology will be incorporated into Harjo’s outreach as U.S. Poet Laureate during her third term.

The project also includes a new online audio collection developed by Harjo and housed in the Library’s American Folklife Center, which features the participating poets reading and discussing their original poems.

The new 222-page book is available in paperback ($15) from the Library of Congress Shop in Washington, DC; via library-of-congress-shop.myshopify.com, and from book retailers worldwide.

Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently “An American Sunrise,” and a memoir, “Crazy Brave.” Named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019 by the Library of Congress, she has been appointed to a third term in the position, making her the second laureate to receive this extension since terms for the position were established in 1943. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow. For more information on the Poet Laureateship as well as other poetry and literature programs of the Library of Congress, visit the Poetry and Literature website.

Source: US Library of Congress and W.W. Norton and Co.

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