Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with our Poet Laureate

Joy Harjo and then-Rep. Deb Haaland in 2019, at Joy’s opening reading as U.S. Poet Laureate. Credit: Shawn Miller.

Now in her third term as the Library’s Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, Joy Harjo has been busy as of late with our virtual programming. She kicked off last month’s National Book Festival with an interview for Washington Post Live, and for Native American Heritage Month she’s kicking off the Library’s programming again—this time with an old friend!

Next Monday, November 1, at 7 p.m. ET, you can check out our 23rd laureate, the first Native American to serve in the position, in conversation with Deb Haaland—appointed this year as the Secretary of the Interior, and the first Native American cabinet secretary. The two are joined by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden—who, Sec. Haaland points out, was another “first” in her position—for an intimate conversation in the Library’s Members Room. Tune in on the Library’s YouTube channel to watch our laureate and the Secretary read poems of each other’s and talk about when they first met, as well as discussing the power of poetry and civic discourse.

A couple of weeks later, on Monday, November 15 at 12 p.m. ET, we’re happy to feature a companion program as part of the Miami Book Fair. Each fall of Joy’s tenure as laureate, Joy has participated in the Miami Book Fair—in person in 2019, and virtually in 2020. She’s back again online, in a conversation with me about her three terms (and doing so during a pandemic), her signature project, and her new memoir “Poet Warrior.” We also talk about a recent poem of hers, which she reads—and she reads some of the poetry sections from her memoir as well.

We hope you watch both programs. The November 1st event is truly historic, and I’m proud it will be added to the Library’s collections as a document of both a powerful friendship and the ways our laureate and the country’s Secretary of the Interior are connected through poetry. The November 15th event is also important as a reflective moment for Joy. Though she is only one of two laureates to serve three terms, it seems like her time in the office has gone by so quickly—and the book fair offers Joy an opportunity to talk in personal terms about the meaning of her time in the role.

Stay tuned for more announcements about our laureate’s plans for Native American Heritage Month, coming soon!

“Novels Arise Out of the Shortcomings of History”: An Interview with Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The following interview with Juan Gabriel Vásquez was conducted in 2016 as part of the Poetry and Literature Center’s online Interview Series. The series featured emerging and established literary writers in dynamic and thought-provoking conversation. Though the series is no longer active, From the Catbird Seat is reprinting these interviews to bring them new light.