Congratulations!

June 14, 2017

Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

The Poetry Department extends congratulations to Tracy K. Smith, who has been named the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, for 2017-2018. Smith will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library of Congress annual literary season in September with a reading of her work at the Coolidge Auditorium.

Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and a professor at Princeton University, succeeds Juan Felipe Herrera as Poet Laureate. She joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position, including Herrera, Charles Wright, Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove.

Tracy Smith is the author of three books of poetry, including Life on Mars (2011), winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Duende (2007), winner of the 2006 James Laughlin Award and the 2008 Essence Literary Award; and The Body’s Question (2003), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith is also the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in nonfiction and selected as a notable book by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

For her poetry, Smith has received a Rona Jaffe Writers Award and a Whiting Award. In 2014, the Academy of American Poets awarded her with the Academy Fellowship, given to one poet each year to recognize distinguished poetic achievement. In 2015, she won the 16th annual Robert Creeley Award and in 2016 was awarded Columbia University’s Medal for Excellence.

In the Pulitzer Prize citation for Life on Mars, judges lauded its “bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain.” Toi Derricotte, poet and Academy of American Poets chancellor, said “the surfaces of a Tracy K. Smith poem are beautiful and serene, but underneath, there is always a sense of an unknown vastness. Her poems take the risk of inviting us to imagine, as the poet does, what it is to travel in another person’s shoes.”

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Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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Pulitzer!

April 13, 2017

2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

In case you missed the announcement earlier this week, the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry goes to Tyehimba Jess, for his book Olio (Wave Books, 2016). The finalists were XX, by Campbell McGrath (Ecco/HarperCollins) and Collected Poems: 1950-2012, by the late Adrienne Rich (W.W. Norton). Read more about Jess and Olio or watch a video of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize Announcement by Pulitzer Prize Administrator Mike Pride.

Reasons to go to…New York

September 14, 2016

Pulitzer Centennial Poetry Celebration

While we don’t often fall for hyperbole, the Poetry Society of America can be excused for using “once-in-a-lifetime event” to describe the Pulitzer Centennial Poetry Celebration. The lineup is enough to make any poet swoon: Rae Armantrout, John Ashbery, Peter Balakian, Carl Dennis, Stephen Dunn, Jorie Graham, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo, Philip Schultz, Vijay Seshadri, Natasha Trethewey, and Charles Wright.

The event will be held Thursday, October 27, 2016, at The Great Hall of The Cooper Union in New York City. The poets will read from their own prize-winning collections as well as select poems by past Pulitzer winners. Following the reading, there will be a private dinner at the Hamilton Fish House with Pulitzer Prize-winning poets and publishers. General Admission for the reading is $15, or $10 for students and seniors. Tickets for the Reading & Dinner are $250 and up. All proceeds benefit the Poetry Society of America’s public programming and signature initiative, Poetry in Motion.

Pulitzer medal

If autumn in New York has a nice ring to it, consider being in the city on Thursday, October 27, 2016, when the Pulitzer Centennial Poetry Celebration presents 14 Pulitzer Prize-winning poets reading from their own prize-winning collections as well as select poems by past winners. The featured poets are: Rae Armantrout, John Ashbery, Peter Balakian, Carl Dennis, Stephen Dunn, Jorie Graham, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo, Kay Ryan, Philip Schultz, Vijay Seshadri, Natasha Trethewey, and Charles Wright.

The reading will be held in The Great Hall of The Cooper Union and more information is available through the Poetry Society of America. Tickets are available now through Brown Paper Tickets.

the winner

April 19, 2016

Balakian - Ozone Journal

Congratulations to poet Peter Balakian, the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Cited as “a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author,” his book Ozone Journal (University of Chicago Press) earned these words of praise from Keith Jones in Consequence Magazine, “These are poems of rapturous diction…” Another book for your list.

watch it!

April 18, 2016

Pulitzer medal

2016 marks the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes, “Honoring Excellence in Journalism and the Arts.” The winners of the 2016 Pulitzer Prizes will be announced today, Monday, April 18, 2016, at 3:00pm ET. You can watch the announcement live online at the Pulitzer Prizes website, keep an eye on Twitter @PulitzerPrize or wait for the video on Facebook.

Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 2015With all the attention to best-of lists, we somehow failed to mention the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry: Digest by Gregory Pardlo (Four Way Books).

Of Pardlo’s writing in Digest, Tracy K. Smith (winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry) commented, “Gregory Pardlo renders history just as clearly and palpably as he renders New York City, or Copenhagen, or his native New Jersey. But mostly what he renders is America, with its intractable conundrums and its clashing iconographies. With lines that balance poise and a jam-packed visceral music, and images that glimmer and seethe together like a conflagration, these poems are a showcase for Pardlo’s ample and agile mind, his courageous social conscience, and his mighty voice.”

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