Rita Dove and Tracy K. Smith: Poetry at the Crossroads
Presented in partnership with Red Hen Press
“The range of [Rita] Dove’s subjects and concerns is almost shockingly vast, as is the variety of instruments in her poetic toolkit...Few contemporary poets are this capacious, this capable, this serious and this pleasurable to read.” —Los Angeles Times
“Poems imbued with social justice are notoriously susceptible to clichéd rhetoric and a lack of nuanced complexity—often they plunge deep as spoken word performances but run aground on the page. This is not the case with Tracy K. Smith, a true artist who never forsakes the language, rhythms, and masterful lineation of literary poetry.” —Harvard Review
Rita Dove and Tracy K. Smith, two of the most important poets of our time, come together for this unique engagement, only at The Broad Stage! The former U.S. poet laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners will discuss the future of American poetry and read selections from their inspiring and significant bodies of work. With conversation moderated by interdisciplinary creative, activist and educator Amber Flame, we enter poetry through the doors of the imagination; we see what has been done and we see what can be. Rita and Tracy share their thoughts on the crossroads of poetry that we now find ourselves in, as a new generation of poets build on and elevate the form whose foundation is made of, in part, these two poets themselves. Rita Dove and Tracy K. Smith have redefined what we can imagine.
Enjoy the Immersive Viewing Experience
Once you purchase your ticket, you will receive a confirmation email with a link taking you to the virtual lobby. At your scheduled show time, click the “Launch Stream” button in the virtual lobby to enter the performance webpage, where you will be able to watch the performance and Q&A via the livestream video player.
Closed captioning available for this performance.
Rita Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for her third book of poetry, Thomas and Beulah, in 1987 and was the U.S. Poet Laureate 1993-95. She received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the National Medal of Arts from President Obama—the only poet ever to receive both. Her many honors include a 2017 NAACP Image Award (for Collected Poems 1974-2004) and the Academy of American Poets’ Wallace Stevens Award. She is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. Her eleventh collection of poetry, Playlist for the Apocalypse, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in 2021.
Tracy K. Smith received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her third book of poems, Life on Mars. The collection draws upon the genre of science fiction in considering who we humans are and what the vast universe holds for us. In poems of political urgency, tenderness, elegy and wit, Smith conjures version upon version of the future, imagines the afterlife, and contemplates life here on earth in our institutions, cities, houses and hearts. Life on Mars was a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and a New Yorker, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.
Amber Flame is an interdisciplinary creative, activist and educator whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center and more. A former church kid from the Southwest, Flame’s work is published widely and explores spirituality and sexuality, cross-woven with themes of grief and loss, motherhood and magic and interstitial joy. A 2016 and 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and Jack Straw Writer Program alum, Amber Flame’s first full-length poetry collection, Ordinary Cruelty, was published in 2017 through Write Bloody Press. Flame was a recipient of the CityArtist grant from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs to write, produce and perform her one-person play, Hands Above the Covers. In early 2018, Flame co-curated the art installation Black Imagination at Core Gallery in Seattle. Her first solo exhibit debuted in 2019 with a project entitled ::intrigue:: 8, a multimedia installation, through Jack Straw Production’s Artist Support and New Media Gallery fellowships. Hugo House’s 2017-2019 Writer-in-Residence for Poetry, Flame’s second book of poetry, titled apocrifa, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Flame has created and implemented programming for more than 15 years, working in education equity, Black media, youth empowerment and with women and youth impacted by incarceration. Recently named Program Director for Hedgebrook, she continues to work as a writing instructor while working on a third collection of poetry, remounting her full-length play, developing a few nonfiction anthologies and raising her daughter. Amber Flame is a queer Black mama just one magic trick away from growing her unicorn horn.