Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection
" Smith's] poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy."--The New Yorker
Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don't Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality--the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood--and a diagnosis of HIV positive. "Some of us are killed / in pieces," Smith writes, "some of us all at once." Don't Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America--"Dear White America"--where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.
"When an author's unmitigated brilliance shows up on every page, it's tempting to skip a description and just say, Read this Such is the case with this breathlessly powerful, deceptively breezy book of poetry." --Booklist, Starred Review
In his much-anticipated follow-up to The Crown Ain't Worth Much, poet, essayist, biographer, and music critic Hanif Abdurraqib has written a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after a heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves than the one they knew. It's a book about a mother's death, and admitting that Michael Jordan pushed off, about forgiveness, and how none of the author's black friends wanted to listen to "Don't Stop Believin'." It's about wrestling with histories, personal and shared. Abdurraqib uses touchstones from the world outside--from Marvin Gaye to Nikola Tesla to his neighbor's dogs--to create a mirror, inside of which every angle presents a new possibility.
Robbins's poems are strange, wonderful, wild, and irrationally exuberant, mashing up high and low culture with "a sky-blue originality of utterance" (The New York Times). The thirty-six new poems in The Second Sex carry over the music, attitude, hilarity, and vulgarity of Alien vs. Predator, while also working deeper autobiographical and political veins.
In this stunning collection of new poems, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life's work, describing with wonder both the everyday and the unaffected beauty of nature.
Herons, sparrows, owls, and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry, and impermanence. Whether considering a bird's nest, the seeming patience of oak trees, or the artworks of Franz Marc, Oliver reminds us of the transformative power of attention and how much can be contained within the smallest moments.
At its heart, Blue Horses asks what it means to truly belong to this world, to live in it attuned to all its changes. Humorous, gentle, and always honest, Oliver is a visionary of the natural world.
The first all-new collection of poems since 2011's Snowflake/different streets--and following the critically acclaimed Afterglow (a dog memoir), as well as the volume of selected poems, I Must Be Living Twice--here, in Evolution, we find the eminent, exuberant writer at the forefront of American literature, upending genre in a new vernacular that enacts--like nobody else--the way we speak (inside and out) today. Evolution, with its channeling of Quakers, Fresca, and cell phones, radiates vital insight, purpose, and risk, like in these opening lines of the title poem:Something
so I buy
a Diet Coke &
a version of "me"
about me on the
earth & its sneakers
& feeling like
the earth's furniture
but that can't be
true or like
the coke & the Times
it's true for a little
Shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize
Finalist for the Forward Prize for Best Collection
The extraordinary new poetry collection by Tracy K. Smith, the Poet Laureate of the United States
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, 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. These are poems of sliding scale: some capture a flicker of song or memory; some collage an array of documents and voices; and some push past the known world into the haunted, the holy. Smith's signature voice--inquisitive, lyrical, and wry--turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother, and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men, and violence. Here, private utterance becomes part of a larger choral arrangement as the collection widens to include erasures of The Declaration of Independence and the correspondence between slave owners, a found poem comprised 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.