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Tracy K. Smith was named Poet Laureate in 2017, at the beginning of the fierce partisan divide of the Trump era. She quickly turned to her craft to address the deep political divisions the election laid bare, putting together a collection called “American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time.” Then she hit the road, visiting community centers, senior centers, prisons, and colleges, and reading poems of her own and by others for groups small and large. “It was exhausting, and exhilarating, and it was probably the best thing I could have done as an American,” she told The New Yorker’s poetry editor, Kevin Young.
This segment originally aired on July 5, 2019.