April

April 1, 2019

It’s April, and that means it’s National Poetry Month, and, of course, that means it’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), and yes, that means: get busy!

The 2019 poster (above) features artwork by tenth grader Julia Wang from San Jose, California, who has won the inaugural National Poetry Month Poster Contest. Wang’s artwork was selected by contest judges Naomi Shihab Nye and Debbie Millman from among twelve finalists and more than 450 student submissions. It incorporates lines from the poem “An Old Story” by current U. S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.

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three percent

November 24, 2018

The New York Times has released its list of 100 Notable Books of 2018. Three volumes of poetry are included:

  • Brown: Poems by Kevin Young
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

Catch up with the complete list here.

take five

October 5, 2018

Got five minutes? Poet laureate Tracy K. Smith will fill your ears with poetry for five minutes, five days a week, starting in November when “The Slowdown” goes live.

The free podcast, produced by American Public Media in partnership with the Library of Congress and the Poetry Foundation, will present Smith reading works by a wide array of poets from around the world.

Read more about the program, listen to a preview, or sign up now.

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.

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.

. . . . .
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