Joy Harjo Named U.S. Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Acevedo Wins Carnegie, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

“I count among these ancestors and teachers my Muscogee Creek people, the librarians who opened so many doors for all of us, and the original poets of the Indigenous tribal nations of these lands, who were joined by diverse peoples from nations all over the world to make this country and this country’s poetry.” Joy Harjo on accepting the position of U.S. poet laureate. Succeeding Tracy K. Smith, Harjo is the first Native American poet to serve as laureate. (Poets & Writers)

Elizabeth Acevedo has become the first writer of color to win the Carnegie Medal, the United Kingdom’s most prestigious children’s book award. Acevedo won the prize for her young adult verse novel, The Poet X. (Guardian)

In anticipation of Pride Week and the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots, poet Danez Smith pens a letter to writer, editor, and activist Essex Hemphill, one of the many queer artists who died during the AIDS epidemic. “The shifting sands have revealed what we’ve known for years: that queer people are innovators of body, mind, and spirit, that the world cannot function without our art.” (New York Times)

“Time itself is a human invention, and given that it’s a human invention, one of the things that we can do, or one of the things I try to do in my own work, is to write against the notion of things happened, and therefore they are no longer happening.” Alexis De Veaux joins Adrian Brooks, Rita Mae Brown, Cheryl Clarke, and Max Wolf Valerio in writing about the ways in which the Stonewall revolution is still happening. (Literary Hub)

“If I had a dollar for every time an editor has assumed that no one sick or disabled reads or that no one will know what the word ‘ableism’ means, I’d be able to pay off my student loans.” Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on writing about disability as a culture and community in her new essay collection, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice. (Guernica)

“I became my own interpreter. I imagined the world of the novel—the dialogue, the feelings, the landscape, even the silences—in Spanish, but by the time the meaning reached my fingertips, I typed it in English.” Ingrid Rojas Contreras describes writing her debut novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, while translating for her mother during a family medical crisis. (Paris Review)

Despite being located inside a sprawling weapons bazaar, the Darra Adam Khel Library in Pakistan prioritizes books and education as steps toward peace. (New York Times)

And Amazon has released its annual list of Best Books of the Year So Far, recommending the novels City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo as must-reads for 2019. (Bustle)