advice for poets

November 27, 2017


Earlier in November, Erin Woo at The Stanford Daily interviewed Tracy K. Smith, the current Poet Laureate of the United States. In the short interview, Smith says,

Everybody says, “read, read, read,” and I think it’s really true. That’s essential. But I think it’s also important to read against your taste, to read the things you don’t love, and see if you can learn how they’re built and what they achieve and whether those tools can be useful to you.

Good advice. Read the interview.

. . . . .
photo

Advertisements

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.”

. . . . .
Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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.”

airing poetry…

January 30, 2012

NPR logoNational Public Radio has announced a flavorful addition to All Things Considered: poetry! Once a month, the program will invite “a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day’s news.”

The first featured poet is Tracy K. Smith. You can read and listen to Tracy Smith’s poem, New Road Station, and see the news article that inspired her on the NPR website.

%d bloggers like this: