Smile Politely

The next U.S. Poet Laureate was a University of Illinois professor

Joy Harjo is about to be named the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, and she will also be the first Native American to have that particular position. 

She’s a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and she taught creative writing and English at U of I from 2013 to 2016. She was also connected to the American Indian Studies department. 

From an interview she did with NPR:

“It’s such an honoring for Native people in this country, when we’ve been so disappeared and disregarded,” Harjo says. “And yet we’re the root cultures, over 500-something tribes and I don’t know how many at first contact. But it’s quite an honor … I bear that honor on behalf of the people and my ancestors. So that’s really exciting for me.”

You can read more about her work here.

Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress via Illinois Public Media

Staff writer

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