Today marks the start of an exciting project at All Things Considered. Each month we’ll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day’s news.
The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars.
What followed was a fascinating glimpse into the artistic process – a poet in search of poetry under extraordinary circumstances. Our news cycle is filled with every day struggles and cataclysmic events. How does a writer pick and choose amongst these and then distill the emotional force of the story into a poem? As the NPR host went about interviewing Tracy Smith and uncovering this process, I found myself listening intently, thinking to myself this is impossible, actually.
Well, I was SO wrong! Tracy Smith followed the news of the day, as assigned, and out of one story that caught her attention came this incredible poem:
‘New Road Station’
The poem, of course, stands on its own. But it becomes even more powerful to read its context here – where you can also listen to the poet read her just-written poem.
I will be tuning in to All things Considered for this monthly event from now on, to hear what in that day’s news moved a poet and inspired poetry…