Recommendations From Tracy K. Smith

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For PBS NewsHour, U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith recommends recent poetry titles, including Look (Graywolf Press, 2016) by Solmaz Sharif, who was featured in “Shadows of Words: Our Twelfth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in Poets & Writers Magazine, and Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf Press, 2017) by Erika L. Sanchez, who was profiled in “First” by Rigoberto González in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Life on Mars

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"My interest in science fiction was really based in what now seems like a very kitschy futuristic aesthetic—an image of the future from about forty years ago." Poet Tracy K. Smith discusses how she conducted research for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Life on Mars (Graywolf Press, 2011). Smith, whose new book, the memoir Ordinary Light, is forthcoming from Knopf, is featured in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Tracy K. Smith

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“In my own writing, I feel safest when I’m farthest from what I know.” Tracy K. Smith reads “Digging” by Seamus Heney, the poem she feels “invited her to start writing poetry,” and from “My God, It’s Full of Stars,” a poem she wrote about her father. This video, part of the P.O.P. series, was shot and edited by Rachel Eliza Griffiths in partnership with the Academy of American Poets.

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Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy

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"Robert, you've wasted so much of your life / Sitting indoors to write poems. Would you / Do that again? I would, a thousand times." In Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy, director Haydn Reiss tracks the evolution of the prolific, mystical poet and his impact on American poetry through interviews with Louise Erdrich, Edward Hirsch, Tracy K. Smith, and others.

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Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Tracy K. Smith

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“Even people who don’t read poems have poetry in their heads.” Filmed as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, this video features poets Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Tracy K. Smith, who discuss the nature of poetry and their creative processes. Smith's memoir, Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015), is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award.

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