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Wade in the Water
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Wade in the Water (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2018





Even the men in black armor, the ones Jangling handcuffs and keys, what else Are they so buffered against, if not love's blade Sizing up the heart's familiar meat? In Wade in the Water, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. 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. The various connotations of the title, taken from a spiritual once sung on the Underground Railroad which smuggled slaves to safety in 19th-century America, resurface throughout the book, binding past and present together. Collaged voices and documents recreate both the correspondence between slave owners and the letters sent home by African Americans enlisted in the US Civil War. Survivors' reports attest to the experiences of recent immigrants and refugees. Accounts of near-death experiences intertwine with the modern-day fallout of a corporation's illegal pollution of a major river and the surrounding land; and, in a series of beautiful lyrical pieces, the poet's everyday world and the growth and flourishing of her daughter are observed with a tender and witty eye. Marrying the contemporary and the historical to a sense of the transcendent, haunted and holy, this is a luminous book by one of America's essential poets.













Tracy K. Smith (b. 1972, Falmouth, Massachusetts) is the Poet Laureate of the United States. She began writing poems aged ten, but it was not until she lost her mother to cancer at 22 that poetry became in her words ‘a tool for living’. The five books she published prior to Wade on the Water established her as one of the most exciting poets in the USA. In 2012 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Life on Mars - a collection she has described as ‘looking out to the universe and forward to an imagined future’; Wade on the Water, by contrast, looks ‘earthward and backward’, confronting unflinchingly the moral crises of race and history in America.





Smith is also a librettist and translator. She is currently writing the libretto for an opera entitled Castor and Patience, and co-translating the work of the contemporary Chinese poet Yi Lei. 











Fiction & PoetryPoetryPoetry by individual poetsHistory & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsSlavery & abolition of slaveryHistory & PoliticsMilitary HistoryAmerican Civil WarHistory & PoliticsPolitics & governmentPolitical control & freedomsHuman rights Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Publication Date: 03/04/2018 ISBN-13: 9780141987842  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Tracy K. Smith is the author of three previous poetry collections, including Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and a memoir, Ordinary Light, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2017 she was named Poet Laureate of the United States. She teaches at Princeton University.

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