April 12, 2021

Collection Spotlight: Joy Harjo

On June 19, 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. On making the appointment, Dr. Hayden said: Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry—‘soul talk’ as she calls it—for over four decades. 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. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Louise Glück

Louise Glück is an award-winning American poet—2020 Nobel Prize for Literature, the 2014 National Book Award, 1993 Pulitzer Prize, and 1992 Bobbitt Prize, among others—who also served as a Special Bicentennial Consultant from 1999-2000 and the U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 2003-2004 at the Library of Congress. Event video recordings Louise Glück Reads Her Poetry Jan. 29, 1988 (1:05:08) Bicentennial Symposium: Poetry & the American People Apr. 4, 2000 … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey black-and-white portrait & brief bio Chris Wallace interviews Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Natasha Trethewey photo Natasha Trethewey bio & select poems Poetry foundation Domestic Work, 1937 by Natasha Trethewey Videos Inaugural Reading of Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey 2012 Natasha Trethewey Presents Final Lecture as Poet Laureate 2014 Conversation with Rosanne Cash & Natasha Trethewey Poetry of Place: 2019 National Book Festival … [Read more...]

Learning from the Source: The Declaration, Her Declaration, Your Declaration

Discuss the Declaration of Independence. Why was it written? What meaning did it have in 1776? What meaning does it have today? Read the Declaration of Independence and highlight words and phrases that stand out to you. Read over the words and phrases you highlighted. In what ways does the language you selected help to clarify or distill the meaning of the Declaration of Independence for you? Read over the words and phrases you highlighted again. In what other context of your life might … [Read more...]

Collection Spotlight: Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith was appointed the Library’s 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry on June 14, 2017 and began serving on September 13, 2017. Her mission the Library's chief poet is to bring poetry to rural areas. "I wanted to go into the more rural communities that don’t have programming on a consistent basis, where people’s lives are equally affected by the kinds of questions and memories that poems can draw upon. If writers and scholars are only talking to each other, we’re missing out on a … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Stanley Kunitz

Award-winning poet Stanley Kunitz was born in 1905 in Worcester, Massachusetts and died in 2006. Kunitz authored 12 poetry collections, one of which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1959 and another, which won the National Book Award in 1995; other honors include a National Medal of Arts, the Bollingen Prize, and the Robert Frost Medal. Kunitz also twice served as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (1974-1976 and 2000-2001). Audio Recordings of Stanley Kunitz … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: Crowdsourced Poetry

Looking for a way to integrate more poetry into your curriculum during national poetry month in April? Take a look at the project of U.S. Poet LaureateJuan Felipe Herrera. La Casa de Colores, specifically La Familia, is a crowdsourced epic poem project that began in September 15, 2015 and will span the length of Herrera’s Laureateship. The current segment is World Unity Tortillas. Past segments include: La Familia Migrants Language Weavers Peace Veterans There are several ways … [Read more...]

Today in History: Robert Penn Warren

Today in History–September 15–the Library of Congress features writer Robert Penn Warren, who died on this date in 1989. A novelist and poet who won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel All the Kings Men and two Pulitzers for his poetry, Warren was also a teacher, critic. He also served as poetry consultant for the Library from 1944-45 and as U.S. poet laureate in 1986. Discover more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more primary sources about the … [Read more...]