April 7, 2015

NPM 2015 - April 7 - Tracy K. Smith

I heard of Tracy K. Smith some years ago when she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book, Life on Mars. (Per her Poetry Foundation bio and poets.org bio, she was born in Massachusetts in 1972 and got her BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.)

An excerpt from one of her poems as today's poem. 

    My God, It's Full of Stars
    by Tracy K. Smith


    We like to think of it as parallel to what we know,
    Only bigger. One man against the authorities.
    Or one man against a city of zombies. One man
    Who is not, in fact, a man, sent to understand
    The caravan of men now chasing him like red ants
    Let loose down the pants of America. Man on the run.
    Man with a ship to catch, a payload to drop,
    This message going out to all of space. . . . Though
    Maybe it’s more like life below the sea: silent,
    Buoyant, bizarrely benign. Relics
    Of an outmoded design. Some like to imagine
    A cosmic mother watching through a spray of stars,
    Mouthing yes, yes as we toddle toward the light,
    Biting her lip if we teeter at some ledge. Longing
    To sweep us to her breast, she hopes for the best
    While the father storms through adjacent rooms
    Ranting with the force of Kingdom Come,
    Not caring anymore what might snap us in its jaw.
    Sometimes,  what I see is a library in a rural community.
    All the tall shelves in the big open room. And the pencils
    In a cup at Circulation, gnawed on by the entire population.
    The books have lived here all along, belonging
    For weeks at a time to one or another in the brief sequence
    Of family names, speaking (at night mostly) to a face,
    A pair of eyes. The most remarkable lies.

The full poem can be read here.
P.S. Coincidentally, just found that she is in the New York Times today in one of their cooking related features - Close at Hand, which "celebrates the objects, practical or precious, that cooks find indispensable."

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