On June 14, 2017, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden (one of the subjects of last week’s Thoughtful Thursday) appointed Tracy K. Smith as the twenty-second United States Poet Laureate. In case you were wondering, the U.S. Poet Laureate serves as the official poet of the United States, and seeks to promote a greater national appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.
When Smith was asked in a recent interview to explain what poetry gives to people that other art forms don’t, she responded: “I think poems cause a person to slow down, to look and listen more carefully, and to submit to the validity of other voices, other perspectives, other kinds of truth. Poetry as an art form gives us practice caring about others, and accepting that their perspectives can be as valid and vital as our own.” So true!
Tracy K. Smith was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and raised in Fairfield, California. She studied at Harvard, where she joined the Dark Room Collective, a reading series for writers of color. She went on to receive her MFA from Columbia University. Her many other awards and honors include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, a 2004 Rona Jaffe Writers Award, and a 2008 Essence Literary Award. She is the director of Princeton University’s creative writing program.
Today’s Thoughtful Thursday offers Smith’s take on the future, “Sci Fi”. Share with your high schoolers and ask them to envision life hundreds of years from today. Enjoy.
There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.
History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance,
Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.
Women will still be women, but
The distinction will be empty. Sex,
Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.
For kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves
Before mirrors studded with golden bulbs.
The oldest among us will recognize that glow—
But the word sun will have been re-assigned
To a Standard Uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing homes.
And yes, we’ll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus. Weightless, unhinged,
Eons from even our own moon, we’ll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once
And for all, scrutable and safe.
Tracy K. Smith