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Endings and New Beginnings with Tracy K. Smith

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U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith during a visit to rural New Mexico. (Shawn Miller/Library of Congress)

Last Thursday, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the appointment of Tracy K. Smith to a second term as the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. Next month, on April 19, the Laureate will return to the Library for “Staying Human: Poetry in the Age of Technology,” a celebration concluding her first term. Smith will join Ron Charles, editor of Washington Post’s Book World and host of the Library’s “Life of a Poet” series, in a discussion about her first-term rural outreach efforts and expanded plans for her second term. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are required via Eventbrite.

During her closing event, Tracy K. Smith will share stories and reflections from her first-term travels to rural communities in New Mexico, South Carolina, and Kentucky, along with poems from her forthcoming collection, Wade in the Water. She’ll also unveil poems from an upcoming anthology, American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, which she edited during her first term and plans to incorporate into her second-term visits to rural communities. American Journal will be co-published in September 2018 by Graywolf Press and the Library of Congress.

Here at the Poetry and Literature Center, it’s an understatement to say that we’re over the moon to continue our work with Tracy K. Smith another year. Unsurprisingly, we’re not the only elated ones about the announcement—more than 300 outlets shared AP’s short item on the laureate’s second-term appointment. The New York Times added a note about Smith’s second year to her By the Book feature published last week, and Vogue timed its profile on Smith to coincide with the announcement of her extended tenure.

Stay tuned for more details on Tracy K. Smith’s second term as the months progress—we even have a few surprises up our sleeves—but in the meantime, please join us on April 19 to celebrate new beginnings with our laureate.