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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Smith Arts October 16, 2020

Tracy K. Smith Will Read at Poetry Center Naming

Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith

Since its founding in 1997, the Smith College Poetry Center has brought the world’s leading poets to campus for public readings and inspiring interactions with generations of Smith students. Now, the center will conduct its important work under a new name, and in perpetuity: The college will dedicate the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center with a special reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Established through a gift from the Tammis Day Foundation, the new name recognizes the poetry center’s visionary founder, Annie Boutelle, and Tammis Day AC ’05, a published poet who was studying for her master’s degree at Smith at the time of her death.

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney noted, “This new name—the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center—recognizes two people who understood the power of poetry to transform, educate and inspire us. Thanks to this gift, Smith College will be a home for distinguished poets and for people who appreciate the power of poetry.”

In addition to a reading by Tracy K. Smith, the October 21 virtual dedication—which is open to all at no charge with advance registration—will also feature remarks by Smith College President Kathleen McCartney and poetry center director Matt Donovan.

About Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2017 to 2019 and is the author of four acclaimed collections of poetry, including, most recently, “Wade in the Water” and “Life on Mars,” which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2012. Her memoir, “Ordinary Light,” was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2015. “The surfaces of a Tracy K. Smith poem are beautiful and serene,” poet Toi Derricotte has said, “but underneath, there is always a sense of an unknown vastness.”

Smith serves as the chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, and also hosts the daily poetry podcast “The Slowdown,” described by “Electric Literature” as “a literary once-a-day multivitamin.”

About the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center

The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center is one of only nine such poetry centers in the United States. Over the course of 23 seasons, the poetry center has welcomed more than 57,000 people to Smith for readings by close to 250 renowned poets, including Elizabeth Alexander, Gwendolyn Brooks, Billy Collins, Natalie Diaz, Seamus Heaney, Mary Oliver and many others.

About the Gift from the Tammis Day Foundation

The new $10 million gift from the Tammis Day Foundation will endow a new chair in poetry, provide an annual poetry residency and bolster the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center’s outreach efforts. The gift also will provide financial aid for Smith’s Ada Comstock Scholars.