Joy Harjo is a musician, author, and poet. She’s also a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation who has published eight books of poetry, a memoir, and two books for children, often on themes of indigenous culture and what it means to be Native American in America today. Now Harjo’s about to become America’s 23rd poet laureate, succeeding Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms. She’ll be the first Native American to serve in the position, which comes with a $35,000 stipend. “It’s such an honoring for Native people in this country,” she told NPR. “I bear that honor on behalf of my people and my ancestors.” The poet laureate is appointed by the Librarian of Congress for a nine-month term. Past poet laureates include Louise Gluck, Philip Levine, and Rita Dove.
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