US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

February 15, 2018  • Aspen Ideas to Go

Last year the US Library of Congress named Tracy K. Smith as the country’s Poet Laureate. She follows in the footsteps of notables who have held the position like Billy Collins, Rita Dove, and Juan Felipe Herrera. In January, she read her poetry and talked about her creative process at Winter Words. It’s an annual event held by Aspen Words, a literary program of the Aspen Institute. Smith is the author of three books of poetry and the memoir Ordinary Light. Her latest book, Wade in the Water, is due out in April. In it, she looks back at moments in history where the human race failed to choose compassion. She wonders what it would take to love others in a truly generous way. “Love is the animating force of the universe and compassion is what we’re here to embody,” she says, “That’s been a really consoling mantra to have at the back of the mind in an age when that’s the opposite of what we hear most of the time.”

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