ICYMI: “Is “useful” poetry the answer to political discord?”

Earlier this month, North County Public Radio asked the very intriguing question “Is “useful” poetry the answer to political discord?” and at the heart of the conversation was poet and educator Tracy K. Smith, the author of three books of poetry, including the wonderful 2011 collection Life on Mars, (Graywolf Press) which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012.

Based in Brooklyn, her memoir Ordinary Light came out in 2015.

Her publisher Graywolf Press described Life On Mars saying: “With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe to accompany the discoveries, failures, and oddities of human existence. In these brilliant new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant, and revisits the kitschy concepts like “love” and “illness” now relegated to the Museum of Obsolescence. These poems reveal the realities of life lived here, on the ground, where a daughter is imprisoned in the basement by her own father, where celebrities and pop stars walk among us, and where the poet herself loses her father, one of the engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. With this remarkable third collection, Smith establishes herself among the best poets of her generation.”


The North County Public Radio interview includes excerpts of her reading “Sci-Fi”  the text of which can be found at The Poetry Foundation, among other places. The NCPR interview also includes an excerpt from her memoir. There are some very interesting ideas for us to consider as poets in this interview. Be sure to check it out.



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