Newspoet: Tracy K. Smith Writes The Day In Verse | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Newspoet: Tracy K. Smith Writes The Day In Verse

Play associated audio

Today marks the start of an exciting project at All Things Considered. Each month we'll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's news.

The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars.

Smith sat down with All Things Considered's Melissa Block to talk about writing a poem in a hurry. She called the day she spent with NPR's producers "delightful, and a little terrifying."

But reflecting on the headlines isn't exactly a new activity for Smith. In fact, she said she often finds that news events are "things I am thinking about and wrestling with and trying to understand better." And for a poet, there's no better way to do that than to write.

Asked where she got the idea for this poem, Smith explained that she came to the morning news meeting at All Things Considered, where she got a preview of the day's stories. Then she sat down to do some background reading. "I just listened to what seemed to rise to the surface for me," she said.

It got easier when she found a point of view that she could identify with: One story by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton — about Nigerians fleeing violence in the north of the country — struck a particular chord. "The sense of individual lives and individual bodies gave me a starting point, Smith explained." Her poem responding to that story is below.

All Things Considered's Newspoet is produced and edited by Ellen Silva with production assistance from Rose Friedman.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Guardians' Director: This Movie Needed Me!

Morning Edition's David Greene talks to director James Gunn about his new film, Guardians of the Galaxy, which Marvel hopes to make its next big franchise. Characters include a raccoon and a tree.
NPR

Syracuse Researchers Melt Rock, Grill A Steak Over Magma

Researchers at the university built a furnace that can melt rock, then had a cookout. Chefs placed a ribeye on a grill over the 2,100-degree magma. Seconds later, a very charred, medium rare steak.
NPR

Assessing Obama's Foreign Policy After A Week Of Crises

Politico Magazine editor Susan Glasser and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum talk with Linda Wertheimer about how the president's foreign policy moves are playing out at home and abroad.
NPR

Big Data Firm Says It Can Link Snowden Data To Changed Terrorist Behavior

For months, U.S. officials have said secret data from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was affecting the way terrorists communicate. A Massachusetts company says it has found proof.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.