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

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...
  • Robyn
    Loved this collection of poems, especially those of the second section. The erasure poem, Declaration, is immense, as is 'I Will Tell You The Truth About This, I Will Tell You All About It,' in which Smith uses sources from letters written by former slaves + veterans of the US Army.
  • Rachel (Kalanadi)
    On the whole I think now that Smith's style of poetry (lots of couplets?) doesn't do much for me. The found poems, which really seem to tell a story (like "Watershed" and "I Will Tell You the Truth About This, I Will Tell You All About It"), worked best for me and in particular I really enjoyed "Watershed". I recognized it from the article it's based on, "The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare" (which was a fascinating read).
  • Ellie
    Tracy K. Smith is the United States Poet Laureate. Wade in the Water is a collection of powerful poems about race, both historically, in our history of slavery specifically during the Civil War (and not only slavery but the mistreatment of the black Union soldiers) along with current examples of violence and hatred toward that which is "othered" in this country (as in African-American, Latinx, and Muslims).Smith writes in a fascinating variety of...
  • 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.
  • Rita
    I love Tracy K. Smith and to actually hear the poems read by the poet herself, was the icing on the cake. What a wonderful experience! I'm up to enjoying poetry again so I must be getting better.
  • 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...
  • Liz Mc2
    My second Smith collection of the year. A number of these poems are “public” in their themes, perhaps reflecting Smith’s role as poet laureate, like “Declaration,” an erasure poem made up of phrases from the Declaration of Independence. These are powerful, but the more personal poems were my favourites, like “Urban Youth,” in which the speaker describes her father and brothers teaching her to ride a bike. She tells her older brother...
  • 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 ...
  • Lindsey Z
    There were a few gems in this collection for sure that I will go back and reread. I appreciate how Smith takes documents from the Civil War and recrafts them to better capture the oft untold African American point of view, but I did feel like I was just reading documents and not poetry. I loved the found poem about companies dumping chemicals in low income neighborhoods (“Watershed”). I loved the title poem and her reference to the African di...
  • Becki Iverson
    I've long been a die-hard Tracy K. Smith fan and have read almost all of her books. I was so excited to pick up this collection, and I did really enjoy it - just not as much as her other stellar work. I think I came to this with higher-than-usual expectations, and it's great quality but not earth shattering. My favorite series of poems were the ones she built from real historical letters from former slaves in the Civil War era. They have a haunti...
  • 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.
  • billy
    I guess you join book clubs in order to force yourself to read a book of contemporary poetry.
  • Kidada
    Beautiful book of poemsSmith's beautiful poems take readers on a national journey from our roots through the present day. Food for the soul in this current moment.
  • Harper Miller
    It's been a long while since a book has brought me to tears and Ms. Smith has managed to do so with her stellar book of poetry. I felt every single word. Part II of Wade in the Water with the letters between Confederate soldiers and their loved ones and the poem Watershed left me feeling incredibly sad. Sad because of all that has been lost. Broken families, broken homes, broken lives. I read this book of poems during my morning commute to work, ...
  • 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...