Tracy K. Smith



Selected Poems


Tracy K. Smith's poetry seems to contain the whole universe. From the earliest work gathered here, we find the voices and experiences of women who have lived adventurously, who have travelled, desired, and found themselves drinking at bars with strangers in lands far from home; we find records of tenderness and of conflict, of the cruelty inflicted on humanity by humanity, and remarkable documentary work bearing witness to the victims of injustice, from a Native American boy separated from his family by the US Government to the girls kidnapped as 'wives' for rebel commanders in Uganda.

This volume gathers the poet's selections from her four collections published since 2003, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars, which expands the scope still further, finding in outer space - and the work of David Bowie - a rich vein of questions about life and death, power and paternalism, and race; and Wade in the Water, whose explorations of motherhood and the destruction of the environment intertwine with verbatim histories of slavery and the American Civil War. These are sensuous, light-filled poems, capable of finding the luminous, the transcendent and a principle of love in even the most difficult of subjects.

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