Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Featured Poet - Tracy K. Smith

Ms Smith is the author of three prize winning books of poetry:  

The Body's Question (Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet) 
Duende (James Laughlin Award and the Essense Literary Award)
Life on Mars (2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry), referred to as  
"a collection of bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain."

From 1997 to 1999 she held a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University, and in 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship.

Her other awards and honors a 2004 Rona Jaffe Writers Award, a 2008 Essence Literary Award, a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, a fellowship from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and a 2005 Whiting Award. 
She studied at Harvard, where she joined the Dark Room Collective, a reading series for writers of color. She went on to receive her MFA from Columbia University.

She teaches creative writing at Princeton University.


I lay sprawled like a big-game rug across the bed:
Belly down, legs wishbone-wide. It was winter.
Workaday. Your father swung his feet to the floor.
The kids upstairs dragged something back and forth
On shrieking wheels. I was empty, blown-through
By whatever swells, swirling, and then breaks
Night after night upon that room. You must have watched
For what felt like forever, wanting to be
What we passed back and forth between us like fire.
Wanting weight, desiring desire, dying
To descend into flesh, fault, the brief ecstasy of being.
From what dream of world did you wriggle free?
What soared — and what grieved — when you aimed your will
At the yes of my body alive like that on the sheets?

from: Life on Mars. Copyright 2011.


But sometimes I forget where I am,
Imagine myself inside that life again.
Recalcitrant mornings. Sun perhaps,
Or more likely colorless light
Filtering its way through shapeless cloud.
And when I begin to believe I haven’t left,
The rest comes back. Our couch. My smoke
Climbing the walls while the hours fall.
Straining against the noise of traffic, music,
Anything alive, to catch your key in the door.
And that scamper of feeling in my chest,
As if the day, the night, wherever it is
I am by then, has been only a whir
Of something other than waiting.
We hear so much about what love feels like.
Right now, today, with the rain outside,
And leaves that want as much as I do to believe
In May, in seasons that come when called,
It’s impossible not to want
To walk into the next room and let you
Run your hands down the sides of my legs,
Knowing perfectly well what they know.

from: Duende. Copyright 2007.

{Photo Source}
{Sources: Pulitzer dot Org; The Poetry Foundation; Poets dot Org)

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