In Wade in the Water, Tracy K. Smith boldly ties America's contemporary moment both to our nation's fraught founding history and to a sense of the spirit, the everlasting. These are poems of sliding scale: some capture a flicker of song or memory; some collage an array of documents and voices; and some push past the known world into the haunted, the holy. Smith's signature voice?inquisitive, lyrical, and wry?turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother, and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men, and violence. Here, private utterance becomes part of a larger choral arrangement as the collection widens to include erasures of The Declaration of Independence and the correspondence between slave owners, a found poem comprised of evidence of corporate pollution and accounts of near-death experiences, a sequence of letters written by African Americans enlisted in the Civil War, and the survivors' reports of recent immigrants and refugees. Wade in the Water is a potent and luminous book by one of America's essential poets.
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by Tracy K. Smith
by Brian Tracy
by Ursula K. Le Guin
by John K. Young
"Poet laureate Tracy Smith's steady and deliberate narration has a sort of automated-sounding rhythm that works. Her poetry collection addresses both contemporary and historical issues that the United States has faced and continues to face. In a slightly pleading tone and unhurried pace, Smith unfolds the disheartening experiences of an African-American soldier in the Civil War and an immigrant being mistreated in the present day. Her works revolve around the theme of visibility and invisibility. While the tone of her narration may offer delicacy in her depictions of our nation, her words themselves are hard and concrete. A profound collection. T.E.C. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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