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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet, Tracy K. Smith, to Deliver Paumanok Lecture at LIU Brooklyn

Lecture and reading to take place Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. in Kumble Theater


Fatima Kafele,Deputy Director of Public Relations
LIU Brooklyn,
Long Island University

LIU Brooklyn Tracy K. SmithBrooklyn, N.Y. – Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author of "Life on Mars" will deliver the annual "Starting from Paumanok" lecture on American literature and culture on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 6:30 p.m. inside LIU Brooklyn's Kumble Theater. The program is free and open to the public.

The Paumanok lecture takes its name from a Walt Whitman poem that first appeared in the 1860 edition of "Leaves of Grass." Its title invokes the Native American word for Long Island and acknowledges the University's geographic and cultural connection to one of Brooklyn's — and Long Island's — foremost literary figures.

Smith has written three books of poetry. The Brooklyn resident's most recent collection, "Life on Mars" (2011), won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. The collection draws on sources as disparate as Arthur C. Clarke and David Bowie, and is in part an elegiac tribute to her late father, an engineer who worked on the Hubble Telescope. "Duende"(2007) won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. "The Body's Question" (2003) was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005.

Raised in northern California by a family that has deep roots in Alabama, Smith started her journey as a poet at Harvard University, where she graduated in 1994. Three years later, she completed an M.F.A. in creative writing at Columbia University. 

Smith teaches creative writing at Princeton University and has taught at Columbia University, City University of New York and the University of Pittsburgh.

Since its inauguration in 1983, the "Starting from Paumanok" lecture has featured scholars, playwrights and literary luminaries, including Alison Bechdel, Lynn Nottage, Walter Mosley, Colson Whitehead, Ed Bullins and Elizabeth Hardwick.

This year's event is funded by the John McGrath Fund and the Mellon Fund. It is co-sponsored by the LIU Brooklyn English Department, the Voices of the Rainbow reading series and the Gender Studies and Africana Studies programs at LIU Brooklyn.  

LIU Brooklyn's Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts is located on Flatbush Avenue between DeKalb Avenue and Willoughby Street. For more information about the lecture, contact (718) 488-1624 or visit

LIU Brooklyn is distinguished by…
dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.

Posted 01/03/2013

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