Tracy K. Smith


Tracy K. Smith was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. From 1997 to 1999 she held a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University. Smith is the author of four books of poetry: The Body's Question (2003), which won the Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet; Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essense Literary Award; Life on Mars (2011), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Wade in the Water (2018). In 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship. She has also written a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. In June 2017, Smith was named U.S. poet laureate. She teaches creative writing at Princeton University and hosts American Public Media's daily radio program and podcast The Slowdown, which is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation. Source  


For Yarrow, and all that is bitter.

For the days I rehearse your departure.

For the Yes that is a lie

And the Yes that is not a lie. For You.

For the rivers I will never see. For Yams.

For the way it resembles a woman.

For my mother. For the words

That would not exist without it:

For Yesterday. For not Yet.

For Youth. For Yogurt and the mornings

You feed me. For Yearning. 

For what is Yours and not mine.

For the words I repeat in the dark

And the lord that is always listening.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Faith & Hope

Joy & Praise

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences