U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith Joins Detroit Today

Joan Isabella/WDET

Tracy K. Smith

Last year, Tracy K. Smith was named the United States Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress.

In an interview with The New York Times she said she wanted to use the role to “take what I consider to be the good news of poetry to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go.” 

She is now doing exactly that—traveling around the country with her work and discussing the significance of poetry as an art form. 

The Pulitzer Prize winning poet laureate will be appearing Friday night at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Smith speaks with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson about bringing poetry to people across the U.S. 

Poems allow you to dive into what’s important…you leap into something that feels like a great way to get to know the country,” says Smith.

What I find is that…people are aware of poetry,” she says. “It was really exciting for me to meet people who have poems of their own that they’ve written in notebooks.” 

Smith also talks about how race and gender influence her work. She says many of her recent poems explore the idea of compassion.

The poems that I’m writing right now are trying to understand what compassion might require of us and what it might give us if we were willing to let it,” says Smith.

Click on the audio player above for the full conversation. 

Image credit: Joan Isabella/WDET

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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