Tracy K. Smith: From Rolex Protégé to Poet Laureate
Rolex literature protégé Tracy K. Smith has been appointed Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress, the greatest honour in poetry in the United States. Rolex recognized her talent early on in 2010 when they paired her with German poet and author Hans Magnus Enzensberger as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Her year under Hans' mentorship would later on inspire her memoir.
What could a polymath patrician of German intellectual life have in common with a young, African-American poet? The answer is a lot more than you'd think. It's the differences however, that make this Rolex mentorship program flourish. Tracy stated that “His ability to move so easily and eagerly across genres and materials struck me as liberating and an affirmation of the power and flexibility of language.” and ultimately lead her to write Ordinary Light: A Memoir the most tangible result of her mentorship with Hans. Her mentorship with Enzensberger exposed her to a belief that "limits are not part of her script" and has continued to inspire her to this day.
Commenting on her appointment as Poet Laureate, Smith said: “My time as the protegée of Hans Magnus Enzensberger changed my goals as a writer, and my view of the community I belong to. I am excited to draw from that experience in this new role."
Rolexes’ Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative program has been taking passionate individuals and giving them the mentor they need to succeed in their craft. Starting in 2002, Rolex has paired aspiring young artists with master artists in the same field, to help them take the next step in their careers. From dancers to architects, Rolex has been ensuring the survival of culture, passing on the knowledge of great accomplished artists to emerge with the modern world and keep history alive.
Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex, paid tribute to Smith by stating: “At Rolex, we are immensely proud of this amazing honour for Tracy Smith. Tracy’s talent and voice are unique, and we are pleased that we were able to support her at an important stage of her career," according to a press release by The Journal.
Tracy K. Smith was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She is a poet laureate in the modern world with an amazing talent and great love for literature. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the next year achieved a full professorship at Princeton at the young age of 41. In 2014 Tracy was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship and in 2017 she was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States.
Rolex is proud to have paired yet another great mentor and protégé and believes that behind every great artist, is a great artist. Discover more timeless tradition and dedication to detail in the Rolex collection available at A.H. Riise Mall.