Wade in the Water: Poems

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The twenty-second Poet Laureate of the United States has four other poetry collections in print, all of which are worth reading, but it is Tracy K. Smith’s most recent book, Wade in the Water that strikes at the heart of readers in a way that makes her a must-know voice in twenty-first century American poetry.

From the opening poem, “Garden of Eden”, Smith’s intentions are laid bare. Here the poem is an observation and meditation on a grocery store with the biblical name, but it is also a reminder of the myriad ways we leave the places that were once familiar to us. This duality is everywhere in Wade in the Water, and it is the sign of a truly gifted poet.

Split into four sections, each grouping of poems has a purpose and unifying tie. It is the second section that is most arresting. Written as a series of correspondences beginning with excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, the other poems in this section are dated from 1849 to 1867. The ruminations on America before, during, and after the Civil War resonate powerfully with our divided nation today.

At once spiritual, temporal, and timeless, Wade in the Water is a masterful collection that should be read, studied, and shared by all who love poetry.


Reviewed By:

Author Tracy K. Smith
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 96 pages
Publisher Graywolf Press
Publish Date 26-Mar-2019
ISBN 9781555978365
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2019
Category Poetry & Short Stories
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