Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Wade in the Water

Poems
Tracy K. Smith
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?
 
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 “Unrest in Baton Rouge”
In Wade in the Water, Pulitzer Prize winner 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. Here, private utterance becomes part of a larger choral arrangement as the collection includes erasures of the Declaration of Independence and correspondence between slave owners, a found poem composed 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.  
 

Share Title

$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-836-5
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
96
Trim Size
6 x 9
Now in paperback, the extraordinary poetry collection by Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate of the United States
 

About the Author

Tracy K. Smith
Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Tracy K. Smith is the author of Wade in the Water; Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award; and The Body’s Question, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She is also the editor of an anthology, American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, and the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. From 2017 to 2019, Smith served as Poet Laureate of the United States. She teaches at Princeton University.
 
More by author

Praise

  • “The poems in Wade in the Water are full of memorable images nimbly put together by Smith’s exquisite sense of timing and her feel for the kind of language appropriate to the poem.”The New York Times Book Review
  • “In these poems, with both gentleness and severity, Smith generously accepts what is an unusually public burden for an American poet, bringing national strife home, and finding the global in the local.”—NPR.org
  • “Smith brings great intelligence and sensitivity to her poems, leading readers deeper into other people’s stories—and ultimately into their own humanity.”The Washington Post
Back to Table of Contents