Sunday, April 27, 2014

Poetry Monday: Tracy K Smith (again) reading from Life on Mars

I've written on Tracy K Smith before, and no doubt I'll write about her again.  Her poetry draws me back repeatedly for the sheer beauty and power of her words, for how much of it I recognise, culturally, politically, in terms of my own experiences, background, and interests, and above all else, because it's about as fun as poetry gets, moving easily between pop culture and the most simultaneously erudite and wrought emotional response. Moving between linguistic prowess and raw emotion is an acrobatic feat that Smith manages perfectly.  There's nothing I don't like about her 2012 Pulitzer Prize winning book Life on Mars.  Here she is reading here from a portion of her poem "My God, It's Full of Stars". In case you didn't recognise it, the line is from Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey (a book and at times, film, that features a number of times in Life on Mars) and refers to the inside of the monolith found on Saturn. 

Perhaps the great error is believing we’re alone,
That the others have come and gone—a momentary blip—
When all along, space might be choc-full of traffic,
Bursting at the seams with energy we neither feel
Nor see, flush against us, living, dying, deciding,
Setting solid feet down on planets everywhere,
Smith is reading at the Kelly Writers House, a wonderful facility based at the University of Pennsylvania.  The KWH describes itself as encouraging literary communitarianism, and true to its self-definition, it hosts some 150 literary events a semester, as well as having an open door policy that attracts some 500 visitors a week, writing, collaborating, talking about and creating contemporary literature.  If you're lucky enough to live near PA, you'll want to drop in.  If not, they do some pretty wonderful webcasts.

No comments:

Post a Comment