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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watch and listen

March 15, 2017

Poet and photographer Rachel Eliza Griffiths has partnered with The Academy of American Poets to release online a series of videos called P.O.P. (“Poets on Poetry”). Each video features a contemporary American poet reading two poems — one of their own and one by another poet — and talking about the poems they’ve selected. The “poet then answers a question s/he has selected from a pool of anonymous questions generated from other participants,” creating a sort of ongoing conversation.

In a related essay, Griffiths describes the project as a kind of three-dimensional portraiture, “a sequence of visual poems, nuanced and calibrated as Russian dolls.”

Visit the P.O.P. page and listen in.

on poetry

December 6, 2016

Rachel Eliza Griffiths
“When you are seen you can no longer disappear.”
Rachel Eliza Griffiths
(b. December 6, 1978)
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photo

NYBG - Octavio Paz Poetry WalkIn connection with its “blockbuster exhibition,” “FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life,” The New York Botanical Garden is currently displaying poems of 20th-century Mexican poet and Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz (1914–1998), many referencing native plants and flowers. Co-presented with the Poetry Society of America, the Octavio Paz Poetry Walk is a continuation of the Garden’s Poetry for Every Season series. On Saturday, September 19, 2015, at 2:00pm, Poetry Walk curator Rachel Eliza Griffiths, whose work has been influenced by both Paz and Kahlo, will present a reading of selected poems in the Ross Hall. Paz’s poems will remain on view through November 1, 2015.
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thanks to Sheila Sondik for the heads up

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