Wade in the Water: Poems

wade in the water.jpg
wade in the water.jpg

Wade in the Water: Poems

16.00

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. 

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