I couldn’t be prouder, or more moved to learn that Joy Harjo has been named our nation’s Poet Laureate. Here’s an excerpt from her poem Anchorage. Her words capture the city, the earth beneath the sidewalks, the people walking the streets, their past and future. And here’s to my hope that her stature as America’s Poet Laureate helps shape that future and makes it worthy of her praise.
for Audre Lorde
This city is made of stone, of blood, and fish.
There are Chugatch Mountains to the east
and whale and seal to the west.
It hasn't always been this way, because glaciers
who are ice ghosts create oceans, carve earth
and shape this city here, by the sound.
They swim backwards in time.
Once a storm of boiling earth cracked open
the streets, threw open the town.
It's quiet now, but underneath the concrete
is the cooking earth,
and above that, air
The rest of the poem can be read at The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.
And visit Harjo’s website http://joyharjo.com/ to learn more about her work and purchase her books, listen to interviews.