Joy Harjo named first Native American poet laureate

"I share this honor with ancestors and teachers who inspired in me a love of poetry," the 68-year-old poet said.


J. Vespa / Contributor
  • Joy Harjo is a poet, author and musician, and is an active member of the Muscogee Nation.
  • Poet laureates are charged with overseeing poetry readings at the Library of Congress, and with promoting poetry to the nation.
  • Harjo succeeds poet and educator Tracy K. Smith.
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Image source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images / BigThink
  • In 1848, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a book outlining his theory of everything.
  • Modern readers will find many familiar concepts, including the Big Bang and multiple universes.
  • While it has little real scientific merit, it does have a solution to Olbers' Paradox.
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Originally, Poe envisioned a parrot — not a raven

Quoth the parrot — "Squawk! Nevermore."

The Green Parrot by Vincent van Gogh, 1886
  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) is considered one of America's great writers.
  • Poe penned his most famous poem, The Raven, in his 30s.
  • Originally, the poem's feathered subject was a bit flamboyant.
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Why American history lives between the cracks

The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?

  • History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
  • In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
  • Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
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Saudade: the untranslatable word for the presence of absence

Saudade: the untranslatable Portuguese word that names the presence of absence and takes melancholy delight in what's gone.

'I pray for friends I've lost, family, like my uncle who passed away,' Bruno told me. We were chatting in the nave of the Church of the Santa Cruz of the Souls of the Hanged, a small Catholic church in central São Paulo. Built near the old city gallows, regulars go there to pray to the dead. 'When I'm here, I feel well,' he said. 'I even feel that the other side is well.' Bruno told me there was something special about the place, that it left him with a 'sensation'. 'The fact that you're remembering, recalling someone that did right by you, it leaves you with even more saudade,' he told me.

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