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Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith was born in 1972 in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and raised in northern California. After graduating from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature and Afro-American studies in 1994, she earned an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University in 1997. She then held the Wallace Stegner Fellowship in poetry at Stanford University for the next two years. She serves as assistant professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, where she has been on the faculty since 2006. She also has taught at Columbia University, City University of New York, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Smith’s most recent collection of poems is Life on Mars (2011), which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her other books of poetry are Duende (2007) and The Body’s Question (2003), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African-American poet.

Her other awards and honors include the Essence Literary Award (2008), the James Laughlin Award (2006), the Rona Jaffe Award (2004), the Whiting Award (2005), a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and a fellowship from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference. Additionally, she was the Literature protégé in the 2009-11 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which recognizes rising artists from around the world.