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Tracy K. Smith Appointed 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate

Tracy K. Smith
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Tracy K. Smith, recipient of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, has been named the 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate. During her term, Smith hopes to expand the reach of poetry by “getting off the usual path of literary festivals and university reading series and talking to people who might not even yet be readers of poetry.”

Born in Massachusetts and raised in California, Smith received her BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She is the author of Life on Mars (2011), winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; Duende (2007), winner of the 2006 James Laughlin Award; The Body’s Question (2003), winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize; and the memoir Ordinary Light (2015). Smith is the director and a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.

Tracy K. Smith is the second Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner to be named U.S. Poet Laureate. Natasha Trethewey received the national honor in 2012 and 2014.


Watch Tina Chang & Tracy K. Smith’s 2016 conversation on poetry and friendship at Cave Canem