The U.S. Poet Laureate. “There’s this whole other narrative unfolding.” How history “which once felt so remote, feels closer and active and unresolved.” Listening for the spaces that are under-imagined. “Little leaps of imagination” that can restore us.
Tracy K. Smith has a deep interest in “the kind of silence that yields clarity” and “the way our voices sound when we dip below the decibel level of politics.” She’s a welcome voice on the little leaps of the imagination that can restore us. She’s spent the past year traversing our country, listening for all of this and drawing it forth as the U.S. Poet Laureate. Krista spoke with her at the invitation of New York’s B’nai Jeshurun synagogue, which has been in communal exploration on creating a just and redeemed social fabric.
Tracy K. Smith is the 22nd United States Poet Laureate and the director of Princeton University’s creative writing program. Her works of poetry include include “Wade in the Water,” “Life on Mars,” and “Duende.” Her memoir is “Ordinary Light.” She’s written the introduction to a new book, “American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time,” and she’s launching a new podcast called The Slowdown.
This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode “Tracy K. Smith — love is a language / Few practice, but all, or near all speak.” Find more at onbeing.org.