Pulitzer Prize-winning Princeton University professor Tracy K. Smith has been named the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

ADVERTISEMENT
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the appointment for 2017-18 Wednesday.

"It gives me great pleasure to appoint Tracy K. Smith, a poet of searching," Hayden said in a statement. "Her work travels the world and takes on its voices; brings history and memory to life; calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion and pop culture. With directness and deftness, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths -- all to better understand what makes us most human."

Smith's first duty as poet laureate will be to open the library's annual literary season in September with a reading of her work at the Coolidge Auditorium in Washington, D.C. She will take over the role of poet laureate from Juan Felipe Herrera.

"I am profoundly honored," Smith said. "As someone who has been sustained by poems and poets, I understand the powerful and necessary role poetry can play in sustaining a rich inner life and fostering a mindful, empathic and resourceful culture. I am eager to share the good news of poetry with readers and future readers across this marvelously diverse country."

Previous poet laureates include Charles Wright, Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Gluck, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove.