Tracy K. Smith Archive

Star Stuff: Poets on Space

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Science relies on metaphors. The work that metaphors do, after all, is to either make the familiar strange, or to make the strange familiar. Science is full of strangenesses, difficult for most of us to grasp unless we have something more quotidian to compare it to. Space, in particular,

The Long Gaze: When Poets Write Memoir

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With many contemporary poets publishing (sometimes multiple) memoirs, there’s clearly a desire for these writers to share their worlds in a form other than poetry. Is it as simple as the appealing arc of a compelling narrative? What other issues might come to bear, particularly in our current social

Interplanetary Postcards: Lessons from the Martian School of British Poetry

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Emerging in the late 1970s and already diminishing by the early 1980s, Martianism was a short-lived yet influential movement in British poetry. Principally associated with Craig Raine and Christopher Reid*, it derived its name from the title poem of Raine’s second collection, A Martian Sends a Postcard Home (1979),

Round-Down: Poetry, Memoir, and the Ever-Shifting “I”

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Recently, a trend has emerged: more and more poets are turning to memoir. In the last two weeks alone I have read essays by Tracy K. Smith about her new memoir and reviews of Elizabeth Alexander’s. Both detail the reasons for the authors’ switch in form, making me wonder, as Smith does in

Roundup: Conversations and Collaborations Among Writers

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As we launch a new blog format for the new year, we’re also looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. Our roundups explore the archives and gather past posts around a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. This week we have posts

Literary Boroughs #6: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. The series will run on our blog from May 2012 until AWP13 in Boston. Please enjoy the sixth

Interview with Tracy K. Smith – “Poets are Lucky”

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I met Tracy K. Smith a couple of weeks before she won the Pulitzer Prize for her terrific and completely ravishing new book, Life on Mars.  We were at a book party for Stephen Motika and his lovely new book, Western Practice – a loft somewhere downtown, in the

Poetry, Hip Hop, and Academia: A Discussion with Camille Rankine, Patrick Rosal, and Tracy K. Smith

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Move with the crowds underground to take the A train uptown on a quintessential Manhattan evening in late April, the clouds having opened up the sky to all those glorious industrial gases from across the Hudson that can turn the western horizon an ink wash of pastels. Step onto