Tracy K. Smith named 22nd U.S. poet laureate

Tracy K. Smith.
(Image credit: Twitter/Library of Congress)

Tracy K. Smith has been named the 22nd poet laureate of the United States by the librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. In a statement, Hayden said Smith's writing "brings history and memory to life" and "calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion, and pop culture," NPR reports.

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Smith, 45, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her collection Life on Mars. She said of her new role as poet laureate: "I think the responsibility really is to just help raise the awareness of poetry and its value in our culture. To me that means talking to people — getting off the usual path of literary festivals and university reading series and talking to people who might not even yet be readers of poetry. I would love to go to places where people might be struggling, where people might wonder if there are voices out there for them."

Juan Felipe Herrera is the current laureate; Smith's tenure will begin in September.

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