Tracy K. Smith is an American poet and educator. She is currently serving as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, an office she assumed in 2017. She has published four collections of poetry, winning the Pulitzer Prize for her 2011 volume Life on Mars.In April 2018, she was nominated for a second term as United States Poet Laureate by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.Early lifeBorn in Falmouth, Massachusetts, she was raised in Fairfield, California in a family with deep roots in Alabama. Her mother was a teacher and her father an engineer who worked on the Hubble telescope. Smith became interested in writing and poetry early, reading Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain in elementary school; Dickinson's poems in particular struck Smith as working like magic, she wrote in her memoir Ordinary Light, with the rhyme and meter making Dickinson's verses feel almost impossible not to commit to memory.