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Tracy K. Smith Named New U.S. Poet Laureate by Congress

NEW ROLE: Tracey K. Smith

TRACY K. Smith has been named the new U.S. Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress, succeeding Juan Felipe Herrera.

The role doesn't include specific official duties, but it does involve raising awareness of, and increasing access to, poetry. “I am excited about the kinds of social divides that poetry may be able not just to cross but to mend,” Smith said in an interview with the library.

“One of my favorite things in the world is to sit and talk quietly about the things poems cause me to notice and remember, the feelings they teach me to recognize, the deep curiosity about other people’s lives that they foster."

"I am excited about carrying this conversation beyond literary festivals and university classrooms, and finding ways that poems might genuinely bring together people who imagine they have nothing to say to one another.”

Smith has written four books of poetry, the most recent of which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. Her memoir Ordinary Light was also a finalist for the National Book Award in 2015.

Her next book, Wade in the Water, comes out next April.

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