TRACY K. SMITH
American Academy of Arts and Letters expands, diversifies
(AP Photo)NEW YORK – One of the country's oldest cultural instititutions, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, is undergoing some of its biggest changes in more than a century. AdHarjo, the first Native American to be appointed U.S. poet laureate, said she looked forward to having an influence on future academy choices. “There are so many incredible Native visual artists,” she told the AP, while also citing such authors as N. Scott Momaday and Leslie Marmon Silko. But the academy will still call itself an academy, while working to make itself more accessible to artists and to the general public. Besides choosing members, the academy also gives dozens of prizes and grants each year, totalling more than $1 million.
Poet Amanda Gorman, 22, will read at Biden inaugural
The country's next inaugural poet is an old pro at ceremonial occasions and she's only 22. (Kelia Anne/Sun Literary Arts via AP)NEW YORK – At age 22, poet Amanda Gorman, chosen to read at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, already has a history of writing for official occasions. Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in memory, and she has made news before. In 2014, she was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, and three years later she became the country's first National Youth Poet Laureate. She is calling her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” while otherwise declining to preview any lines.
U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo to serve third 1-year term
NEW YORK – U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo will serve a third, one-year term and has launched an online project that celebrates Native American poets around the country. Her reappointment was announced Thursday by the Library of Congress, and her new term begins in September. Poetry has provided doorways for joy, grief and understanding in the midst of turmoil and pandemic,” Harjo, the first Native American to be named poet laureate, said in a statement. “I welcome the opportunity of a third term to activate my project and visit communities to share Native poetry. It features a digital map of 47 contemporary writers, including Harjo, Louise Erdrich and Natalie Diaz.