Tracy K. Smith

In April, Brooklyn-based poet and author Tracy K. Smith received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her book “Life on Mars,” a collection of poems that touches on childhood, the universe and the loss of her late father, an engineer who worked on the Hubble telescope. Smith joins us to discuss the award, her writings and why she looked to outer space to gain perspectives on issues closer to home.

Tracy K. Smith, poet and creative writing professor at Princeton University

  • John in Chicago

    To quote William Carlos Williams, “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”

    Favorite poet?  William Shakespeare by a country mile.

    Fantastic show.  Thanks to you and Tracy!

  • Forum

    Denise Levertov
    Raymond, San Jose

  • Mya R.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely poems. I just requested “Life on Mars” from my library & look forward to exploring your work!

    A question was asked about what single poet one returns to. That’s a hard question to answer. I can narrow it down to three: E. E. Cummings, Theodore Roethke, & Sharon Olds (your work reminds me somewhat of hers).

  • Esperanza

    I fail to see what is new or innovative, let alone prize-winning, about Ms. Smith’s poetic work. Nothing in her style distinguishes it from most other mainstream American poetry. 

    • Poetrysavesus

       what a miserable hater you are. 

      • SynerGenetics

        That is hate? You seem overly sensitive! I don’t think “‘miserable hater” is a correct response, you should apologize and try it again. 

  • Michele

    Enjoyed your interview on KQED today.  My dad taught me to love space – he was a journalist for the Wall Street Journal.  He took each of us to see an Apollo space flight….

    will never forget it

    love your work!


  • tomlederer

    I wish I had known in advance that Tracy (my former student in Fairfield) was going to be on the show, because I would have called in to greet and congratulate her directly.  As a poet, she is quite remarkable because, while her language is quite simple, it is continues to create evocative images. Irish poet Eavan Boland years ago told me that she found her amazing.  As a person, Tracy sparkles with a gentle magic that brightens the people around her.  Her parents were quietly phenomenal, and her siblings, too, have been stellar.  Quite a family.

    Thank you for engaging Tracy in such a rich conversation.  I am quite in awe of her.

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