A New Poem by Tracy K. Smith

Celebrating This Year's PEN World Voices Festival

May 13, 2022  By Tracy K. Smith

Image © 2022 Dawoud Bey

after Dawoud Bey

We stand square in its frame,
revealed and claimed.

On every side: our fathers, sisters,
our very mothers

doing what’s been done
to everyone.

It is a plot,
a garden lot.

Row upon row,
we are what grows

through storm,
past fruit, seed, wind, bird.

Grief, strife: all endures.
The crop of us blown farther

than our known roots
and our knowing better.


Tracy K. Smith is a featured participant in the 2022 PEN World Voices Festival event “Ghostwriting: When Ancestors Speak.” For more information about the festival, which takes place May 11-14 in New York and Los Angeles, please visit worldvoices.pen.org.


 Copyright © 2022 by Tracy K. Smith.

Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith is a librettist, translator and the author of five acclaimed poetry collections, including Life on Mars, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Her memoir, Ordinary Light, was a finalist for the National Book Award. From 2017 to 2019, she served as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States. She lives in Massachusetts.

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