swell swag

May 23, 2018

The Poetry Society of America is holding its annual Spring Benefit on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. The evening will honor Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Tickets and tables are still available.

If you won’t be able to make it to the benefit (or even if you will), PSA is offering an array of swell poetry swag in their silent auction, including appealing adventures, dazzling art, a poetry consultation with Billy Collins, a stay at the Ace Hotel in New York, books, classes, tickets, broadsides, posters, and subscriptions. Visit the auction page online.

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The Library of Congress has just launched a new poetry podcast series: From the Catbird Seat. Every Thursday for eight weeks, the series will explore poetry’s past, present and future.

Hosts Rob Casper, head of the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center, and Anne Holmes, Digital Content Manager for the Poetry and Literature Center, will share archived recordings from nearly 80 years of literary events featuring poets reading and discussing their work at the Library of Congress. Each podcast will include highlights from a single event or series and will also feature a special guest. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith is the guest for the first program and Ron Charles, editor of The Washington Post’s Book World, is the guest for the second broadcast.

Listen and/or subscribe (it’s free) on the Library’s podcast site or on iTunes.

(catbird seat)

on poetry

April 16, 2018


“Wasn’t it strange that a poem, written in my vocabulary and as a result of my own thoughts or observations, could, when it was finished, manage to show me something I hadn’t already known?”
Tracy K. Smith
(b. April 16, 1972)

. . . . .
Tracy K. Smith has recently accepted an appointment to serve a second term as the nation’s 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, for 2018-2019. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

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

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.

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