Tracy K. Smith is the New Poet Laureate of the United States
The poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection, Life on Mars, and a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction for her memoir, Ordinary Light, will begin her new post with the Library of Congress in September of this year. Congratulations Tracy K. Smith! Here is a quote from an interview she had with Michel Martin from NPR, posted on 6/17:
“…poetry gives us a vocabulary for the feelings that don’t easily fit into language. The other thing that I think poems are really good at doing is teaching us that it’s not just the feelings inside of ourselves that matter. We can also find a deeper connection to others by acknowledging the feelings that they house as well. And so for me, a poem is also a real vehicle for empathy.” — Tracy K. Smith
Shakespeare in the Park Disrupted
The production of Julius Caesar at Delacorte Theater in New York City was interrupted by two protestors on Friday. One protester yelled, “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!” The production features a #45-like figure in the title role. Reporting on the incident, several journalists, including Jen Trolio at Vox, holds the protestors’ feet to the fire with not only the subheadline of, The pair seems to have misread the 400-year-old play, but also with gem quotes such as:
“Julius Caesar is a political play, one that plumbs the uneasy relationship between power and populism, as well as the conflicts that arise between personal relationships and loyalty to country. It even explores the pitfalls of various forms of government, from democracy’s potential for mob rule manipulated by showy speakers to the potential for personal power seeking in a republic to the dangers of iron-fisted, people-crushing authoritarian rule.” — Alissa Wilkinson for Vox
Roxane Gay’s New Book is Released
On June 13th, the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist celebrated the release of Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, published by Harper. In the powerful book, Gay writes of her relationship with food, weight, self-image and much more in what Ann Patchett describes as “an amazing achievement in more ways than I can count.” She is currently on tour across the U.S. to support the new release. Here is an excerpt from the critically-acclaimed book:
“I am never allowed to forget the realities of my body, how my body offends the sensibilities of others, how my body dares to take up too much space and how I dare to be confident, how I dare to use my voice, how I dare to believe in the value of my voice both in spite of and because of my body…” — Roxane Gay
The Woodberry Poetry Room Featured in Harvard Magazine
The special collections reading room and audio-visual archive at Harvard is highlighted in the magazine’s July-August issue. The article includes a comprehensive history, from its early beginnings to today, touting such treasures as the earliest commercial recordings of poetry in the Harvard Vocarium and “Ezra Pound screaming and beating on a kettle drum” to recordings of poets from Sylvia Plath to Audre Lorde. A “finding aid” for the collection is set to be released over the summer. Learn more about the Woodberry Poetry Room here.
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Our Video of the Week:
From PBS NewsHour, uploaded on 6/14. Here is the new Poet Laureate of the U.S., Tracy K. Smith, reading her poem, “Wade in the Water,” dedicated to the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters.
Laurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am the Eggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, a lot of red wine, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on Twitter @laurels_idea