New York

Brooklyn Resident Tracy K. Smith Wins Pulitzer Prize

As if we didn't already know how talented our Brooklyn residents are, Tracy K. Smith is reminding us all over again.  On Monday, April 16th, she was awarded with a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection "Life on Mars."

Smith is a creative writing professor at Princeton University and a Boerum Hills resident.  About winning the coveted award, Smith said,

“I feel like it’s a gift for any writer to be recognized like this.”

She said that the collection was partly inspired by her father's work as an engineer on the Hubble space telescope.  As she said, “This is a book that in many ways is an elegy to my father. It’s nice to know that he’s also getting some recognition."

As she explained her writing process, she gave a nod to Brooklyn, saying "Brooklyn is kind of my writer's retreat."

The prize committee described their choice as

“a collection of bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain.”

In their review of this, her third published book, The New York Times said, “Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we’re alone in the universe; it’s to accept—or at least endure—the universe’s mystery."

One of Smith's other published works was also received with acclaim on a smaller scale. Her 2007 "Duende" won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry.


Watch Tracy K. Smith Reads From 'Life of Mars' on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)