In this episode of The Archive Project, we have an event from the 2023 Portland Book Festival featuring two wonderful poets, whose friendship and fandom shines through in their conversation. Major Jackson, author of Razzle Dazzle and host of The Slowdown poetry podcast and newsletter interviews fellow poet Tracy K. Smith about her latest book, To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul.
To Free the Captives is a personal manifesto on memory, family, and history that explores how we in America might come to a new view of our shared past. In their discussion of the book, Jackson and Smith touch on a multitude of subjects personal, political, and even spiritual, and they keep coming back to the importance and impact of language, and the power language has for liberation, but also for captivity and enforcing hierarchy.
Find your copy of TO FREE THE CAPTIVES and RAZZLE DAZZLE
through the LITERARY ARTS PAGE ON BOOKSHOP.ORG.
Tracy K. Smith is a librettist, translator, and the author of five acclaimed poetry collections, including Life on Mars, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Her memoir, Ordinary Light, was a finalist for the National Book Award. From 2017 to 2019, she served as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States. She lives in Massachusetts.
Major Jackson is the author of six volumes of poetry. His honors include a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The poetry editor of the Harvard Review and the host of the podcast The Slowdown, Jackson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.