When I was a grad student getting my MFA, the Poetry in Motion posters punctuated my commutes across New York City. They gave me morsels of ecstatic language to think about and carry with me. They affirmed my belief that everyone needs poetry.

I remember how bereft I felt, sometime later, when the posters were gone and the subway went back to being a repository for acne ads and beer campaigns. How lonely the language of unabashed commerce can make a thinking person feel.

My joy at the return of Poetry in Motion was and remains emphatic. And having my own poem on display in the trains was an enormous affirmation. Even more emphatic was the feeling of community I got whenever  I'd receive word from a fellow New Yorker who had glimpsed my poem, "The Good Life," on the commute. Your poem touched me. Or, I remember those days of living paycheck to paycheck that your poem describes. Or, I've never really read poetry before, but I memorized your poem on my way to work today. 

The idea that my words have reached and touched people who weren't even looking for them--the same way the poems that surprise and stick with me do--is nothing shy of a miracle. 

Poetry in Motion, now in its 25th year, is just one of the Poetry Society of America's initiatives that makes poetry accessible to all.

Please join me today to support the Poetry Society of America and help continue to bring poetry to the crossroads of American life. 


Tracy K. Smith 


Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Tracy K. Smith is the author of the memoir Ordinary Light (2015) and three collections of poems, The Body's Question (2003), winner of the Cave Canem First Book Prize, Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award, and Life on Mars (2011), winner of the Pulitzer Prize.