Meet Joy Harjo, the new U.S. poet laureate

Joy Harjo, a versatile poet, musician, memoirist and playwright, is the new official poet of the United States.

Harjo, a member of the Muskogee Creek nation, said she shares this honor with ancestors and teachers who inspired in her a love of poetry, “who taught that words are powerful and can make change.” Appointed the 23rd U.S. poet laureate in June, she will take up her duties in September, opening the annual literary season of the Library of Congress with a reading of her work.

“Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry — ‘soul talk’ as she calls it — for over four decades,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in announcing Harjo’s appointment.

“To her, poems are ‘carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,’ and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making.”