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Joy Harjo, the first Native poet to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate, has championed the voices of Native peoples past and present. Her signature laureate project gathers the work of contemporary Native poets into a national, fully digital map of story, sound, and space, celebrating their vital and unequivocal contributions to American poetry.
This companion anthology features each poem and poet from the project--including Natalie Diaz, Ray Young Bear, Craig Santos Perez, Sherwin Bitsui, and Layli Long Soldier, among others--to offer readers a chance to hold the wealth of poems in their hands. The chosen poems reflect on the theme of place and displacement and circle the touchpoints of visibility, persistence, resistance, and acknowledgment. Each poem showcases, as Joy Harjo writes in her stirring introduction, "that heritage is a living thing, and there can be no heritage without land and the relationships that outline our kinship." In this country, poetry is rooted in the more than five hundred living indigenous nations. Living Nations, Living Words is a representative offering.
Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently An American Sunrise, and a memoir, Crazy Brave. Named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019, she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.
Deborah A. Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area in California, with Chumash ancestry. Her mixed-genre book Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (Heyday 2013), received the 2015 PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. She is also the author of four poetry collections (Altar for Broken Things (2020), Raised by Humans (2015), The Zen of La Llorona (2005), and Indian Cartography (1999). She is coeditor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, and her work has appeared in many anthologies, most recently When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: An Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (2020). She is the Thomas H. Broadus, Jr. Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where she teaches literature of the margins and creative writing.
Eric Gansworth, S˙ha-weñ na-saeˀ, is an enrolled Onondaga writer and visual artist, raised at the Tuscarora Nation. His award-winning books include If I Ever Get Out of Here, Give Me Some Truth, and Extra Indians. He is a Professor and Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College.