Tracy K. Smith has published three volumes of poetry and collected some of the field’s most prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.

Her passion for writing originated when she was in the fifth grade, and with every passing year, her collection of self-written prose continued to grow.

Now, at 47 years old, the Library of Congress has named Smith its new poet laureate, the nation’s highest honor in that field, cementing her place in the pantheon of great American writers.

This role has been held by some of the country’s most accomplished poets, including Rita Dove, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, W. S. Merwin, Charles Simic and most recently, Juan Felipe Herrera.

Smith told the New York Times that she plans to use the position to be a literary ambassador of sorts, by visiting small towns and rural areas to hold poetry events.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to take what I consider to be the good news of poetry to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go,” she said. “Poetry is something that’s relevant to everyone’s life, whether they’re habitual readers of poetry or not.”

In her memoir, “Ordinary Light,” Smith describes reading a poem by Emily Dickinson in her fifth-grade class and feeling a rush of creative energy, as if she were “privy to magic.”

“I couldn’t help but memorize a poem whose meter had worked upon me quickly and in a way I didn’t quite yet understand,” she writes. “Its rhyme scheme cemented, for me, a new sense of inevitability.”