NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo has been chosen to address graduates at Smith College’s commencement ceremony.
Harjo, the first Native American to be named poet laureate, is slated to give the keynote address at the college’s May 30 commencement, the school announced on Thursday. The ceremony is expected to be held in-person for students only, officials said.
Recently reappointed for a third, one-year term as poet laureate, Harjo is known for such collections as “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” and “In Mad Love and War.” Her honors include the PEN Open Book Award and the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement.
As a signature project as poet laureate, Harjo created a website called “Living Nations, Living Words.” The website features a digital map of 47 contemporary writers, including Harjo, Louise Erdrich and Natalie Diaz. The map links to audio recordings of the writers reading and discussing an original poem.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and has degrees from the University of New Mexico and the University of Iowa. Officials at Smith said Harjo will receive an honorary degree from the liberal arts women’s college, which enrolls about 3,000 students.
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