Tracy Smith Named New Poet Laureate

Tracy Smith
Tracy Smith (Shawn Miller/Library of Congress)

The Library of Congress has named Tracy Smith its new poet laureate, the nation’s highest honor in that field.

Smith’s June 14 appointment, places her among some of the country’s most revered poets, include Rita Dove, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, W. S. Merwin, Charles Simic and, most recently, Juan Felipe Herrera.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to take what I consider to be the good news of poetry to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go,” Smith, 45, said in a statement. “Poetry is something that’s relevant to everyone’s life, whether they’re habitual readers of poetry or not.”

Smith, the 22nd poet to assume the post, was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University and a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Columbia University.

She teaches creative writing at Princeton University, has published three volumes of poetry and has won the Pulitzer Prize. As part of her new duties, Smith plans to visit small towns and rural areas to hold poetry events.

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