Poetry is something that’s all around us. It encompasses many facets of life as well as appeals to people’s emotions and interpretations . The newest addition to the poet laureate society is Pulitzer Prize winning poet and author Tracy K Smith.
Smith was named Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress on Wednesday. In ode of such a distinction, here are five things to know about her and her amazing work of art:
1) She’s the 22nd poet laureate consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress since 1985.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed Smith as the Library’s 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry on June 14, 2017. “Her work travels the world and takes on its voices; brings history and memory to life; calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion, and pop culture. With directness and deftness…contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths—all to better understand what makes us most human”, says Hayden.
2) Since this tradition begin a 1937, she is the fourth African-American woman to ever hold the title.
The three former women laureates of African American desent are Gwendolyn Brooks ( laureate in 1985-1986), Rita Dove ( laureate in 1993- 1995 ), and Natasha Trethewey ( laureate in 2012 and again in 2014).
3) The main objective of a poet laureate is to introduce poetry to people who don’t know what it includes.
Upon obtaining the title of poet laureate, Smith said, “I am profoundly honored. As someone who has been sustained by poems and poets, I understand the powerful and necessary role poetry can play in sustaining a rich inner life and fostering a mindful… I am eager to share the good news of poetry with readers and future-readers across this marvelously diverse country.”
In doing so , the goal is to get people involved in writing and reading poetry. As a result she plans to go to rural and small parts of the country where she will hold poetry events.
4) She wants to take the art of poetry to places where people feel like their voices don’t matter and that what they have to say is insignificant.
” I feel that as a person of color I’ve always been interested in the stories that are quiet and the stories that are often overlooked … I feel I think that inevitably I’m aware of these margins and I’m curious about them because I know what it feels like to be outside of one.” she said to NPR news. She immerses herself in the ideology of being real and raw about her emotions and fully awate about what our society is in this day and age .
5) She has also published three critically acclaimed books . The last one she published titled Life On Mars One her a Pulitzer Prize in 2012. She also published a memoir titled the “Ordinary Light” in 2015.
The novel Life On Mars explores some tropes infused with science- fiction, as well as highlighting some details into her father’s experiences as an engineer on the Hubble Space Telescope. For her other piece of work Ordinary Light, it explains her mother’s death from cancer as well as exploring her experiences growing up black in suburban Northern California with parents that had deep roots in Alabama.
Check out her NPR interview (with this link) and her reading from Life of Mars below !: