Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith

The protégée

Published in 2011

An exciting new voice in American poetry, Tracy K. Smith has won recognition for her powerfully wrought poems treating themes from loss and passion to politics.

Smith received degrees from Harvard and Columbia universities before becoming a fellow at Stanford and taking on various teaching positions. Since 2005, she has been assistant professor of creative writing at Princeton. Her two critically acclaimed poetry collections, The Body’s Question, winner of the Cave Canem Prize for the best first book by an African-American poet, and Duende, recipient of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, were followed in May 2011 by her highly praised third poetry collection, the “largely elegiac” Life on Mars. Focusing on writing a memoir during her mentorship, she says of Hans Magnus Enzensberger, her mentor in the 2010-2011 Rolex Arts Initiative: “He has helped me to start thinking in a way that’s not exactly like a poet, to start thinking of characters.”