Joy Harjo, our 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, has created a fantastic addition to our understanding of Native American poets and poetry with her signature project Living Nations, Living Words. A portion of this project is an interactive story map Living Nations, Living Words: A Map of First People’s Poetry, featuring 47 Native Nations poets with original works exploring place and displacement.
“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. … The mapmaking represented by this map comes at a crucial time in history, a time in which the failures to acknowledge, listen, and to consider everyone when making the map of American memory has brought us to reckoning.” Joy Harjo
In addition to the story map, Living Nations, Living Words features audio recordings of 47 contemporary First Nations Poets reading and discussing an original work of poetry, transcripts, and photographs.
The full Living Nations, Living Words project can be viewed at the Library of Congress.