US poet laureate starts rural reading tour in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. poet laureate has embarked on the first of several trips to rural pockets of the country where she says book festivals rarely take her.

Poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith's first trip as part of a pilot project she's launched with the Library of Congress is a three-day tour of New Mexico.

It began Thursday and includes stops at an air force base, the Santa Fe Indian School, and Santa Clara Pueblo.

The Librarian of Congress in June named Smith the U.S. poet laureate, a yearlong post that comes with few obligations beyond trying to build awareness of and appreciation for poetry.

Appointees are free to establish individual priorities.

Smith's include using poetry as a bridge for people of different backgrounds and viewpoints.