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Voices of the Nation Poetry Series

Celebrating the Work of U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

Voices of the Nation Poetry Series

Tracy K. Smith has written four books of poetry, received a Cave Canem prize for best first book by an African American poet, and a Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Her memoir was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. She teaches at Princeton.

Panelists for this event include Russell Stockard and Sheena Mason.

Stockard is professor of communication at California Lutheran University, where he also coordinates the Global Studies Program and co-coordinates the Ethnic Studies Minor. His research interests include Caribbean and Latin American studies, African American and Afro-Latino contact through travel and tourism, media and gentrification, and the sports media response to the COVID-19 crisis. He has been invited to read his poetry at numerous events, including the Ventura County Poetry Project and, most recently, Dear America: Black Lives Matter. His presentation will emphasize Smith’s engagement with social justice.

Mason is completing her doctorate degree at Howard University. She specializes in African American, American and Caribbean literature. Her sustained interest in understanding systemic racism and being a change agent persists and are reflected in her research and teaching. Her research examines how race ideology inadvertently reifies racism in literary studies and in society. Her work provides a representative theory as an example of how scholars can avoid reifying racism. She will present what she calls the trope of the walking negative as portrayed in Smith’s "Wade in the Water."

Series hosted by Jacqueline Lyons, associate professor of English and creative writing at California Lutheran University. Lyons is the author of four books of poetry, most recently "Adorable Airport" (Barrow Street Press). Her first book of poetry, "The Way They Say Yes Here," won a Peace Corps Writers Best Poetry Book Award. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, Utah Arts Council Awards in poetry and nonfiction, and a Nevada Arts Council Fellowship in nonfiction. Events are virtual and free and open to the public.

Registration is required: Event links will be sent to registrants.


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This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit


Jacqueline Lyons