Oklahoma native becomes first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate

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PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 24: Writer Joy Harjo of the film “A Thousand Roads” poses for portraits during the 2005 Sundance Film Festival January 24, 2005 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK – Joy Harjo has been named the country’s next poet laureate, becoming the first Native American to hold that position.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced Harjo’s appointment, saying in a statement Wednesday that the poet helped tell an American story of continuity and disruption, “reckoning and myth-making.” Harjo’s one-year term begins this fall. She succeeds Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms.

Harjo, 68, is known for such collections as “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” and “In Mad Love and War.” Her previous honors include the PEN Open Book Award and the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement.

Harjo was born in Tulsa and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation.

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