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Saturday, June 17, 2017

We all need poetry

“We all need poetry. The moments in our lives that are characterized by language that has to do with necessity or the market, or just, you know, things that take us away from the big questions that we have, those are the things that I think urge us to think about what a poem can offer.” – Tracy K. Smith

Named the nation’s 22nd Poet Laureate this week, Smith, who was born in 1972, grew up in a house lined with books of all kinds – ranging from Sci-Fi paperbacks to Shakespeare’s sonnets.  Now, as laureate, she has the world’s largest library available to explore – when she’s not busy teaching poetry and creative writing at Princeton.
                                 Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize – for her spectacular book of poems Life on Mars – Smith told Washington Post reporter Ron Charles that her new appointment gives her an opportunity “to immerse myself in the conversation that poetry generates.  When we’re talking about the feelings that poems alert us to and affirm, we’re speaking as our realest selves.”   For Saturday’s Poem, here is Smith’s,

              The Good Life
 When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.

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