Tracy K. Smith, a top award-winning poet, has been named the new U.S. poet laureate. Smith’s work, which consists of three poetry published collections and one forthcoming, have won her the Pulitzer Prize, the James Laughlin Award and an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, according to Publishers Weekly.
Since 1937, there have only been 22 U.S. poet laureates who have been tasked to “raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.” Smith is the first named under new librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
“It gives me great pleasure to appoint Tracy K. Smith, a poet of searching,” Hayden said. “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, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths-all to better understand what makes us most human.”
Smith is currently the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities and director of the creative writing program at Princeton University while working on her next poetry collection, Wade in the Water, which is set for an April 2018 release. Her first three books are Life on Mars, Duende and The Body’s Question, all of which were published under Graywolf Press.
“I am profoundly honored,” Smith said in a statement. “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, empathic and resourceful culture. I am eager to share the good news of poetry with readers and future readers across this marvelously diverse country.”
We wish Tracy all of the best as she moves forward as one of the most prominent of one of the oldest and most respected arts in the world.