‘Life on Mars’ to be presented for Common Read

Poet Laureate and Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University Tracy K. Smith will be visiting campus to discuss her poem and the chosen read for the Common Read Program “Life on Mars.”

The department of English is hosting Smith’s presentation on March 26 in D Vickers Hall. There will be a student panel from 9:30-10:45 a.m., an author Q&A session from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. and an author reading, book signing and reception from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

In addition to being selected for the Common Read, “Life on Mars” won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2012.

Smith described what she hopes to accomplish at this event.

“I’ll be answering questions about my work and responding to student work,” said Smith. “I’ll also likely discuss where my poems come from and what craft-based strategies I rely upon when I sit down to write.”




Smith described what the book means to her.

Smith said, “I see the book as moving from a consideration of what it means to be human, to what it means to be a daughter who has lost a parent, into an exploration of some of my anxieties as a 21st century American, to my sense of what is at the root of my experience as a woman.”

Smith hopes that students will realize poetry can speak to numerous areas of their lives. She hopes that in reading “Life on Mars,” readers will “tap into the deep curiosity at the root of the book, and that perhaps some of the poems will be useful to them in wrestling with their own questions of grief, loss, anxiety and love.”