Tracy K. Smith is known for her powerful poetry. She's a Pulitzer Prize winner and former U. S. Poet Laureate.
Yet her newest book, “To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul,” is memoir — a classification she initially resisted. But as she tells MPR News host Kerri Miller, she eventually saw that her own story is a kind of microcosm of America’s story. It’s a meditation on who we’ve been, who we are and who we want to become.
On this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas, Smith joins Miller to expand on the ideas in her latest work, as it examines the nature of power, freedom, race, prayer, her parent’s lives, her own drinking and what she calls "the conundrum of history.”
Tracy K. Smith’s poetry has won many awards, including a Pulitzer. She was the U.S. poet laureate from 2017 to 2019. Currently, she is a professor of English and African American studies at Harvard University. Her new book is “To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul.”
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