Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith

Wade in the Water

The extraordinary new poetry collection by Tracy K. Smith, the Poet Laureate of the United States Even the men in black armor, the onesJangling handcuffs and keys, what elseAre they so buffered against, if not love’s bladeSizing up the heart’s familiar meat?We watch and grieve. We sleep, stir, eat.Love: the heart sliced open, gutted, clean.Love: naked almost in the everlasting street,Skirt lifted by a different kind of breeze.—from “Unres...

Details Wade in the Water

TitleWade in the Water
Release DateApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherGraywolf Press
GenrePoetry, Contemporary, Cultural, African American, Nonfiction

Reviews Wade in the Water

  • Roxane
    I mean, she's the poet laureate for a reason. These are beautiful poems. I particularly enjoyed the erasure poems of black civil war soldiers seeking compensation. On a craft level, these poems are impeccable. They didn't have the emotional resonance I often look for in poetry but I know brilliance when I read it and this book is brilliant.
  • Brina
    With a reading plan in place to complete a number of fun and rewarding challenges, 2018 looked bright. The year actually got off to a great start and then real life got in the way. This year is being devoted to family celebrations and just being with family so reading is going to be at a premium. I opted out of all of my challenges, and culled my to read pile down to just those books that I am genuinely interested in or are what I called award wi...
  • Tori (InToriLex)
    Find this and other Reviews at In Tori LexThese poems are reflect how minorities in America have grappled with racism. Each piece pulls at your senses and challenges you to think more deeply about the world around you. The history of how black people survived slavery and reconstruction is often overlooked. In the poem "Unwritten" the use of real correspondence of African Americans while fighting in the Civil War and surviving after, let's us glim...
  • Ken
    It's tough when the bottom of the book's cover reads "By the Poet Laureate of the United States" (not that I wouldn't minds such baggage). Tough to live up to the expectations. And Tracy K. Smith doesn't. Not if you're looking for stop-you-in-your-tracks poems that make you want to reread just to hear the pleasant little jingle again. I've read poetry like that, and no, not a lot of that here.The best part is Smith's erasure poetry. There's a bri...
  • Celia
    Tracy K. Smith was appointed Poet Laureate for the United States in 2017. How lucky the United States.Wade in the Water is her latest contribution to the wonderful world of poetry. Written mostly in non-rhyming prose, it describes and uses private experiences and public documents.My favorite sections are borrowed from real letters written by real people during the Civil War. I have read so many books about slaves and their experiences, these poem...
  • Shawn Mooney
    A few sharp, resonant images aside, this pretty much left me cold. Most of these poems read like vertically-stacked prose.
  • Drew
    The best around, these days. Just fantastic stuff.
  • Katie
    Highlights are the erasure poems of the Declaration of Independence (--taken Captive/ on the high Seas/ to bear --)and Dupont dumping poison into drinking water, KNOWINGLY (with near death descriptions)and African Americans enlisted in the Civil War, seeking pension (Yours for Christs sake --) I was fortunate to be at Smith's inauguration as Poet Laureate, and see several of these poems performed in person. The crowd reaction to a white officer g...
  • Joshua
    Tracy K. Smith's poems are beginning too make my soul feel inadequate. These poems are poetry, what poetry should be. It's feeling and beauty and truth all congealed into one beautiful collection. As always the woman reminds the reader what feeling is, and how words can create them in the first place.
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    Another great poetry collection from Tracy K Smith. Some of these poems are quite nostalgic and beautiful. Others deal with the history of racism in the US. Finally, some are simple observations about her children. I loved this whole collection.
  • Lance
  • SabirSultan
    I truly enjoyed this collection. Smith's poetry is always radically empathic - it reaches out to understand, to see, to make space for the humanity in all of us while never shying away from difficult truths. It is as if her work takes E.M. Forster's "Only Connect," as dictum. In this collection the frame and context is wide. The poems' subjects are personal, historical, and political. I found many of the poems moving, but the 2nd section of histo...
  • Sophia Hanson
    My dad heard I was having a rough time here in the city, so to cheer me up he sent me a book of poetry he had seen and thought I might like. I was already predisposed to love this book no matter what because it was just such a goddamn sweet gesture. But even if he had not given it to me, I would have adored Wade in the Water.Though it is only 75 pages, Tracy K. Smith’s Wade in the Water packs a punch. And it should. She is the Poet Laureate of ...
  • Ryan
    America is a country of ghosts, haunted by a past that is willfully ignored due to selective cultural amnesia and the cavalier attitude that the only history is that ordained by those in power. That amnesia is a deadly lens through which to view the past as it distorts the present. Especially deadly for black Americans and refugees landing here in the midst of our rising nationalism. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith gives voice to those ghost and wra...
  • D.A. Gray
    Tracy K. Smith leads the reader from a vision of a history not whitewashed in ‘official accounts,’ a history revealed in the voices of those who suffered its effects most directly. Whether her poems breath life into voices from another century, or reveal through a more personal account of a mother watching her daughter race to achieve adulthood they dig deep into a place that rejects stereotype, and painted over ‘facts.’ An example of ho...
  • Hannah
    For those who'd like to read how God troubles the water. Excellent.
  • Matthew
    This is not my favorite Smith collection. Although, the poem “A Man’s World” is brilliant perfection!
  • Matt
    This was a really solid collection of poems that feel surprisingly traditional after the books I've been reading lately. So while there are a couple erasures here and some found poems, they all are lineated and most of them are more or less traditional! And good!Smith has a solid sense of writing satisfyingly traditional poems, with strong images and some striking line breaks. Her poems are dense, and a lot of them play off the contrast between w...
  • Lyra
    Masterful. Tight, fiery, wildly imaginative. I'll need to reread to absorb all the nutrients of its intent.4 1/2 stars.
  • Jeremy
    (Audiobook) Well, there's a first for everything, and buying an audio book of poetry will also be a last for me, unless it's specifically meant to be spoken word/slam. How could I resist the audio version when it was read by the author herself and a third of the e-book price? I absorbed (almost) every word of the per-former, but could not intuit the haunted spaces formed by the lines and stanzas. Now I need to hunt down the dance of typography to...
  • Christopher
    I’ve been on a relatively new journey experiencing modern poetry and this one, the most recent collection written by the current Poet Laureate of the United States, Tracy K. Smith, is one of the best ones I’ve read so far. Ms. Smith’s poems cover a wide variety of topics such as parenthood, family and modern life. But her most striking poems in this collection are the ones that deal with race relations in America today. I am especially haun...
  • Elizabeth A.G.
    Wade in the Water: Poems by Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith is a wonderful compilation of poetry ranging from the personal-- about her childhood, pregnancy and her own daughter; the historical -- slavery, the letters of despair from Civil war veterans and their families, reflections on immigrant and racial discrimination; and the social -- industrial pollution caused by Dupont company's hazardous waste dumping into waterways. It may seem much of the...
  • Liz VanDerwerken
    Tracy K. Smith is brilliant, simply put. I thought this entire collection was striking, but I was particularly moved by “I Will Tell You the Truth About This, I Will Tell You All About It,” which used language from primary source documents illustrating the standing of African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. This long-form found poem juxtaposed with others which reflected similar themes of injustice and cruelty in modern America...
  • Gloria
    Historical and enduring social wounds addressed in this lyrical and meditative collection that contrasts light with night by the current Poet Laureate of the United States.Includes many erasure poems based on historical archives of African American soldiers and their families during the Civil War, retaining misspelled words and punctuation. Erasure is a form of poetry created by erasing words from an existing text in prose and framing the result ...
  • Luke Gorham
    My first Tracy K. Smith. A bit overtly methodical for me to completely sell-out love it, but some of the headiest, most formally impressive poetry I've read. Thematically, she thrives in the environmental realm ("Deadly" is a real standout here), while her formal exercises in erasure poetry (dear God, "Declaration" is a force) and found poetry are consistently knock-outs. One minor reservation I have is that most of the emotional resonance here c...
  • Janet
    Tracy K. Smith's new book of poetry varies the traditional lyric with found and erasures. The overall effect is stunning and worthy of more than one read. The lyrics investigate human need, pregnancy, and motherhood. One interesting section in the book takes the Declaration of Independence and erases the independence of slaves brought to the country. She follows this poem with slave stories taken from actual letters of Civil War soldiers and fami...
  • judy-b. judy-b.
    When I saw this at my local bookstore, I snatched it off the table. When I gave the cover a closer look, I noticed that Tracy K. Smith has been named US poet laureate. How cool is that.As the title suggests, Smith does trouble the water in this collect; you could also say that she leans in. The collection as a whole is stirred, in that Smith employs a variety of techniques, styles, and tones, which feels both unsettling and a relief. The repetiti...
  • Douglas
    Wonderful writing, but, in the case of the audio book, the author does a disservice to her own work. Reading in "poet voice" (yes, this is a real thing... check out http://culturalanalytics.org/2018/04/... ) flattens most of the poems into emotionless recitations with distractingly unnatural rhythms. Occasionally her reading falls into a more natural and relaxed cadence and the artistry is allowed to shine though, but this is the exception.
  • Mike
    DeclarationHe hassent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people.He has plundered our—ravaged our— destroyed the lives of our—taking away our—abolishing our most valuable—and altering fundamentally the Forms of our—In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned forRedress in the most humble terms: Our repeatedPetitions have been answered only by repeated injury.We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigrationan...
  • Morgan McComb
    Police brutality, environmental decimation, the legacy of slavery, the awe and ache of motherhood, nature as God and God as nature: Tracy K. Smith’s Wade in the Water explores all these topics in deft and effusive poetic language. Each section interrogates the erasure of histories, and her poetry elevates the forms of personal narrative alongside her undeniable power of poetic imagery. By tackling the hard truths we are reckoning with on a glob...