1. The earth is dry and they live wanting. Each with a small reservoir Of furious music heavy in the throat. They drag it out and with nails in their feet Coax the night into being. Brief believing. A skirt shimmering with sequins and lies. And in this night that is not night, Each word is
Tracy K. Smith
Born on April 16, 1972, Tracy K. Smith was raised in Falmouth, Massachusetts. 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.
Smith's first collection, The Body's Question (Graywolf, 2003), won the Cave Canem Prize in 2002. Her second book, Duende (Graywolf, 2007), won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her third collection, Life on Mars, was published by Graywolf Press in 2011.
A starred review of Smith's work in Publisher's Weekly noted her "lyric brilliance and political impulses." A review of Duende in The New York Times Book Review stated, "The most persuasively haunted poems here are those where [Smith] casts herself not simply as a dutiful curator of personal history but a canny medium of fellow feeling and the stirrings of the collective unconscious...it's this charged air of rapt apprehension that gives her spare, fluid lines their coolly incantatory tenor."
Smith's awards and honors include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, 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 teaches at Princeton University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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