When Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith was appointed as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2017, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden praised the breadth and generosity of her work, writing: “With directness and deftness, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths—all to better understand what makes us most human.” Smith’s work as Poet Laureate inspired her to take poetry to rural communities across the country and to launch a daily podcast encouraging listeners to slow down and make space for poetry, all while building on her own remarkable body of work. Smith’s new book, Such Color, is the first career-spanning volume from this tremendously talented poet, pulling together selections from her prior collections as well as eighteen new poems. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly writes that Such Color “serves as a humbling and invigorating reawakening from sorrow and apathy.” Smith will be in conversation with another former Poet Laureate, Danielle Legros Georges, former Poet Laureate of the City of Boston. For this opening keynote session, slow down and make space for a vital and thoughtful conversation about the place of poetry in our lives and about the role of poetry in recovery and resistance. Sponsored by Mass Poetry, with media sponsorship by TLS.
Tracy K. Smith is the author of Wade in the Water; Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award; and The Body’s Question, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She is also the editor of an anthology, American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, and the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. From 2017 to 2019, Smith served as Poet Laureate of the United States. She teaches at Harvard University. Such Color, Smith's new collection of selected and new poems, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it "both timeless and urgent . . . a humbling and invigorating reawakening from sorrow and apathy."
Danielle Legros Georges is a writer, academic, and author of several books of poetry, including The Dear Remote Nearness of You, winner of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Margaret Motten book prize. Her awards include fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. She was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the city of Boston, serving in the role from 2015 to 2019. She directs the Lesley MFA Program in Creative Writing. Her most recent work is a book of translations, Island Heart: The Poems of Ida Faubert.