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PALM BEACH POETRY FESTIVAL 2020 Special Guest Poet Joy Harjo is Named United States Poet Laureate
Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 9:35pm

Harjo is the First Native American Poet 

to Receive this Prestigious Honor 

(Delray Beach, FL – June 20, 2019)  Susan Williamson, Director of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, today congratulated Joy Harjo, who will be the Special Guest Poet at the 16th annual festival, for being named the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate yesterday. 

A poet, writer and musician from Oklahoma, Harjo, and member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, often draws on Native American stories, languages and myths.

Interviewed by The New York Times, Harjo stated, “I’m still in a bit of shock. This kind of  award honors the place of Native people in this country, the place of Native people’s poetry.”

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival announced last month that Harjo would be Special Guest Poet at the 16th annual festival, where she will be interviewed by faculty poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, and will deliver the annual Thomas Lux Memorial Reading following the festival gala. The festival will be held January 20-25, 2020 at Old School Square in Delray Beach. 

“This is the second time that the Palm Beach Poetry Festival will host a sitting poet laureate of the United States, though we have featured many others before they were named or after they served,” said Williamson. “We could not be more thrilled to congratulate and welcome Joy Harjo, whose poetry often merges the global and the personal, and the imagery of the natural world with that of the inner one.” 

Harjo, who sees poetry as “an immense conversation of the soul,” also was recently named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Her memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. Her ninth book of poetry, An American Sunrise, will be published in August. 

About the Palm Beach Poetry Festival 2020:

The 16th annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival will be held January 20-25. 2020 at Old School Square in Delray Beach. The Festival will feature top poets at numerous ticketed public events, including readings, talks, interviews, panel discussions and more. Poetry workshops will be offered for which applications are required. 

The Workshop Faculty of the 2020 Palm Beach Poetry Festival will include Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Nickole Brown/Jessica Jacobs, Reginald Gibbons, Major Jackson, Ilya Kaminsky, Dana Levin, Adrian Matejka, and Maggie Smith. One-on-One Conference Faculty includes Lorna Blake, Sally Bliumis-Dunn, and Angela Narciso Torres. Poet-at-Large Patricia Smith will give readings at four local high schools and at the Crest Theatre on Friday, January 24. 

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival 2019 was presented in partnership with Old School Square and was generously sponsored by Art Works of the National Endowment for the Arts, Morgan Stanley, The Legacy Group of Morgan Stanley’s Atlanta, GA office, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, The Tourist Development Council of Palm Beach County; the Board of Commissioners of Palm Beach County, The Palm Beach Post, a grant from Visit Florida, WLRN-FM, and Murder on the Beach, Delray Beach’s independent bookseller.

In 2010, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival received an Arts Challenge Grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; and in 2011, it was presented with The Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural Organization (with a budget under $500,000) by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

For more information about the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, please visit www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.

Attached Jpeg:

Joy Harjo


Available for Interview:

Susan Williamson



Media Contact:

Gary Schweikhart

PR-BS, Inc.


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