Talking Volumes with poet Tracy K. Smith

A woman poses for a picture while smiling.
Author Tracy K Smith spoke with MPR’s Kerri Miller about her new book of poetry “Wade in the Water” at Talking Volumes.
Courtesy of Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Tracy K. Smith is aware of the stereotypes about poetry. You’re probably aware of them too — that poems are precious, sometimes pretentious and removed from the grit of our daily lives.

But the 2017 U.S. poet laureate also knows that poems can be an escape, a mirror or a vehicle for understanding some of the most complicated parts of our shared humanity.

Speaking on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater, Smith put it this way:

“A poem isn’t merely a perfect, decorative object. It’s something you can call upon in case of an emergency. It’s something that speaks to the real, the painful, the beautiful and the deliriously joyful. Poems have language for that and I think they give us a better vocabulary for talking about our lives.”

To hear more of their conversation, use the audio player above.

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