Tracy K. Smith has officially been named the Poet Laureate by the United States Library of Congress, joining the likes of Robert Frost and Louise Glück. A position that dates back to 1937 and lasts for one year, Smith is the 22nd poet to hold this highest honor in the world of poetry within the US. She is known for going against poetic norms and trying to broaden people’s understanding of poetry. Her three volumes of work illuminate the love of literature Smith has had since she was a little girl that drew her to writing in the first place.
One of her most interesting works Life on Mars utilizes tropes seen in the science fiction genre, showing just how expansive her writing can be as she draws upon the life of both her father and David Bowie. That same collection won Smith the Pulitzer Prize in 2012, and now her career has culminated to yet another honor amongst the slew of accolades she has already acquired beyond these. From the way she blends her own personal reflections with commentary on the world around us, the honors all seem well-deserved.
It is quite a feat, but Tracy K. Smith is ready for the challenge. Recognizing the turbulent political times we live in, Smith wants to promote poetry as a bridge for those individuals and communities of differing backgrounds and viewpoints. Where this new position will take her is going to be very interesting, and not just for Smith herself. If her history with the written word and passion for her craft has anything to say, it is that the world of poetry is about to benefit immensely from her increased presence.