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U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith headlines UT’s Lectores readings

The University of Tampa’s Lectores reading series kicks off Jan. 4 with a big literary name: U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith.

Lectores, named for the people who read aloud to workers in Tampa’s historic cigar factories, is presented by the university’s low-residency creative writing MFA program and features the program’s instructors and other authors giving free public readings of their work.

Smith was named the 22nd poet laureate of the United States in 2017. Her books include the critically acclaimed 2015 memoir Ordinary Light, a finalist for the National Book Award, and three collections of poetry, one of which, Life on Mars, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

Inspired by Emily Dickinson early in life to write poetry, Smith went on to become part of the influential Dark Room Collective in Cambridge, Mass., whose other members included Colson Whitehead, Natasha Tretheway and Kevin Young. Smith teaches creative writing at Princeton University. Her next collection of poems, Wade in the Water, will be published in 2018.

Other Lectores readers include memoirist and poet Sarah Manguso, poet Ada Limón and novelist Skip Horack. UT professor John Capouya will give a presentation about his latest book, Florida Soul, on Jan. 9 with guest Timmy Thomas, a Miami singer, songwriter and keyboardist who had a No. 1 hit in 1972 with Why Can’t We Live Together.

All readings begin at 7:30 and are free and open to the public.

Jan. 4, Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, 310 N Boulevard, Tampa: Tracy K. Smith (Ordinary Light), pictured

Jan. 5, Scarfone/Hartley Gallery: Sarah Manguso (300 Arguments: Essays)

Jan. 6, Scarfone/Hartley Gallery: Ada Limón (Bright Dead Things)

Jan. 8, Scarfone/Hartley Gallery: Skip Horack (The Other Joseph)

Jan. 9, Trustee Room, ninth floor, Vaughn Center, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa: John Capouya (Florida Soul) with Timmy Thomas

Jan. 10, Scarfone/Hartley Gallery: poets Sandra Beasley (Count the Waves), Alan Michael Parker (The Ladder) and Angela Redmond-Theodore, featured alumni reader

Jan. 11, Crescent Club, ninth floor, Vaughn Center, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa: fiction writers Mikhail Iossel (Every Hunter Wants to Know) and Jeff Parker (Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal)

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U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith headlines UT’s Lectores readings