WATCH: Joy Harjo on Being the Nation’s First Indigenous Poet Laureate

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Oct 21, 2019

When Joy Harjo was named the United States’ 23rd poet laureate consultant in poetry for 2019-2020 on June 19, the Muscogee Creek Nation member became the first Native American poet to serve in the position. She’s also the first poet laureate from Oklahoma. On Sunday (October 20), the performer and author appeared on NBC’s “Sunday Closer,” where she talked about poetry as activism, using her battle with suicide ideation to inform her work and feeling like an ambassador for Indigenous people. “What an opportunity, a doorway for Native people,” Harjo said of being the poet laureate. “We’ve been so disappeared in the story of American poetry and American history, and yet we are the root of what it means to be an American.”

Watch the complete segment below, courtesy of Today: