Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author of “Life on Mars” will deliver the annual “Starting from Paumanok“ lecture on American literature and culture on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 6:30 p.m. inside LIU Brooklyn’s Kumble Theater. The program is free and open to the public.
The Paumanok lecture takes its name from a Walt Whitman poem that first appeared in the 1860 edition of “Leaves of Grass.” Its title invokes the Native American word for Long Island and acknowledges the University’s geographic and cultural connection to one of Brooklyn’s — and Long Island’s — foremost literary figures.
Smith has written three books of poetry. The Brooklyn resident’s most recent collection, “Life on Mars” (2011), won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. The collection draws on sources as disparate as Arthur C. Clarke and David Bowie, and is in part an elegiac tribute to her late father, an engineer who worked on the Hubble Telescope. “Duende” (2007) won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. “The Body's Question” (2003) was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005. She is a resident of Brooklyn.