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Collection Living Nations, Living Words

About this Collection

This collection—part of Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s “Living Nations, Living Words” signature project—contains audio recordings of 47 contemporary Native American poets reading and discussing an original poem. Listen to Joy Harjo, Louise Erdrich, Natalie Diaz, Ray Young Bear, Craig Santos Perez, Sherwin Bitsui, Layli Long Soldier, and other featured voices.

Created in 2020, Harjo’s project gathers a sampling of work by contemporary Native poets from across the nation to show, through poetry, that Native people and poets have vital and unequivocal roots in the United States. The poets included in “Living Nations, Living Words” chose their poem and commentary based on the theme of place and displacement, and with four touchpoints in mind: visibility, persistence, resistance, and acknowledgment.

Harjo notes that the project showcases “poetry [that] emerges from the soul of a community, the heart and lands of the people. In this country, poetry is rooted in the more than 500 living indigenous nations. ‘Living Nations, Living Words’ is a representative offering.”

This online presentation comprises sound recordings, transcripts, poems, photos, and biographies for each participating poet. To learn more about Joy Harjo’s “Living Nations, Living Words” signature laureate project, visit