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.
* Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry *
* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism * Winner of the NAACP Image Award * Winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize * Winner of the PEN Open Book Award *
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
The New Yorker, Boston Globe, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, NPR. Los Angeles Times, Publishers Weekly, Slate, Time Out New York, Vulture, Refinery 29, and many more . . .
A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine's long-awaited follow up to her groundbreaking book Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric.
Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.
A NBCC Award Finalist
From the breakout author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonc comes a profound and deceptively funny exploration of Black American womanhood.
"Morgan Parker's latest collection is a riveting testimony to everyday blackness . . . It is wry and atmospheric, an epic work of aural pleasures and personifications that demands to be read--both as an account of a private life and as searing political protest." --TIME Magazine
A Best Book of 2019 at TIME, Elle, BuzzFeed, the Star Tribune, AVClub, and more.
A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at Vogue, O: the Oprah Magazine, NYLON, BuzzFeed, Publishers Weekly, and more.
Thirst, a collection of fortythree new poems from Pulitzer Prizewinner Mary Oliver, introduces two new directions in the poet's work. Grappling with grief at the death of her beloved partner of over forty years, she strives to experience sorrow as a path to spiritual progress, grief as part of loving and not its end. And within these pages she chronicles for the frst time her discovery of faith, without abandoning the love of the physical world that has been a hallmark of her work for four decades.
Donika Kelly's fierce debut collection, longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award and winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize
I thought myself lion and serpent. Thought
myself body enough for two, for we.
Found comfort in never being lonely.
What burst from my back, from my bones, what lived
along the ridge from crown to crown, from mane
to forked tongue beneath the skin. What clamor
we made in the birthing. What hiss and rumble
at the splitting, at the horns and beard,
at the glottal bleat. What bridges our back.
What strong neck, what bright eye. What menagerie
are we. What we've made of ourselves.
--from "Love Poem: Chimera"
Across this remarkable first book are encounters with animals, legendary beasts, and mythological monsters--half human and half something else. Donika Kelly's Bestiary is a catalogue of creatures--from the whale and ostrich to the pegasus and chimera to the centaur and griffin. Among them too are poems of love, self-discovery, and travel, from "Out West" to "Back East." Lurking in the middle of this powerful and multifaceted collection is a wrenching sequence that wonders just who or what is the real monster inside this life of survival and reflection. Selected and with an introduction by the National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Bestiary questions what makes us human, what makes us whole.
girl next door sunbathing in the driveway
i wanna be them all at once, i wanna be
all the girls I've ever loved
--from "Girl" Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood now weaves together her own coming-of-age with an investigation into our culture's romanticization of violence against women. At times blistering and riotous, at times soulful and exuberant, Life of the Party explores the boundary between what is real and what is imagined in a life saturated with fear. Gatwood asks, How does a girl grow into a woman in a world racked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? In precise, searing language, she illustrates how what happens to our bodies can make us who we are.
Praise for Life of the Party "Delicately devastating, this book will make us all 'feel less alone in the dark.' "--Miel Bredouw, writer and comedian, Punch Up the Jam "Gatwood writes about the women who were forgotten and the men who got off too easy with an effortlessness and empathy and anger that yanked every emotion on the spectrum out of me. Imagine, we get to live in the age of Olivia Gatwood. Goddamn."--Jamie Loftus, writer and comedian, Boss Whom Is Girl and The Bechdel Cast "I've read every poem in Life of the Party. I've read each of them more than once. In some parts of the book the spine is already breaking because I've spent so much time poring over it and losing hours in this world Olivia Gatwood has partly created, but partly just invited the reader to enter on their own, caution signs be damned. This book is enlightening, inspiring, igniting, and f***ing scary. I loved every word on every page with a ferocity that frightened me."--Madeline Brewer, actress, The Handmaid's Tale, Orange Is the New Black, and Cam