Brina's Reviews > Wade in the Water

Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
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it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry, african-american-literature

With a reading plan in place to complete a number of fun and rewarding challenges, 2018 looked bright. The year actually got off to a great start and then real life got in the way. This year is being devoted to family celebrations and just being with family so reading is going to be at a premium. I opted out of all of my challenges, and culled my to read pile down to just those books that I am genuinely interested in or are what I called award winning game changers.

One of these game changers is Wade in the Water: Poems, a new collection by current US Poet Laureate, Tracy K Smith. Last year I read her other three collections as well as her memoir and was mesmerized by her work. Smith is deserving of her role as poet laureate and is one of the leading poets of this generation. If you haven't read any of her prior work, I encourage everyone to read one or all of her poetry collections. Smith's work is that good.

Analyzing her work will not do justice to it but I will say that after not reading for over a month these thought provoking poems were a compromise to ease back into reading. She included a touching ode to her daughter written in a simple rhyming schematic and contrasted it with pieces about the current state of immigration and ethnic profiling. The most prolific work was that detailing African American soldiers during the Civil War and their ongoing postwar battle to obtain the same rights and pensions as their Caucasian contemporaries. Smith bends the line between poetry, story telling, and prose, and makes even the most basic of her poems a joy to read.

For the rest of 2018, I will be happy if I read ten specially earmarked books that I have been either looking forward to for a long time or are pure comfort reads. This year I will come to appreciate my reading as it is a luxury and if all of my reads are as gratifying as Wade in the Water: Poems, I will walk away from my reading sessions satisfied.

5 stars
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Reading Progress

August 16, 2017 – Shelved
August 16, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
August 16, 2017 – Shelved as: poetry
April 17, 2018 – Started Reading
April 17, 2018 – Shelved as: african-american-literature
April 17, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

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message 1: by Luffy (new)

Luffy Welcome back to reading. I don't like poems, but I can understand your passion for them.

Brina Thank you Luffy. Interestingly enough I didn't enjoy poetry until last year. I have found contemporary poets to bend the genre lines and really enjoy their work.

message 3: by Luffy (last edited Apr 18, 2018 04:08AM) (new)

Luffy I once bought Paradise Lost at a great discount. Didn't know it wasn't in prose form. I never touched the book afterwards. I may develop a late push for poetry, but I'll be amazed if I do.

Brina Some of my favorites- Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Smith, Joy Harjo, and current youth author/poets Kwame Alexander and Nikki Grimes.

Celia Glad to see when reading time is at a premium, you found a fiver!! xxoo

message 6: by Ivy (new)

Ivy I'm not much of a poetry aficionado, but I wouldn't mind starting in that genre. What is a good recommendation for a newbie. I hear you on walking away from the reading challenge. I also want to focus on books I actually enjoy. Great review!

Brina Celia, Tracy K Smith could write on a napkin and it would be a 5 for me. Her writing is that good. Ivy, I would try any of the work by Gwendolyn Brooks. Her work is a predecessor to Smith and fun on many levels.

Celia Ivy wrote: "I'm not much of a poetry aficionado, but I wouldn't mind starting in that genre. What is a good recommendation for a newbie. I hear you on walking away from the reading challenge. I also want to fo..."
Ivy, I really enjoyed the poems in Gloria Gay's Poems of Love and the Sea
My review here:

message 9: by Ivy (new)

Ivy Celia wrote: "Ivy wrote: "I'm not much of a poetry aficionado, but I wouldn't mind starting in that genre. What is a good recommendation for a newbie. I hear you on walking away from the reading challenge. I als..."

Wow! Thank you! This is just up my alley!

Celia Brina and Ivy... the book is free on Kindle. Not just Kindle Unlimited, but can buy it for free.

message 11: by Rita (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rita I love your review, Brina! Your new approach to reading and to life suit you well.

Brina Thank you so much, Rita. The poetry is pretty good too. I made my rest of the year list of 12-15 books and hope I get through them.

message 13: by Rita (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rita If you do, you do.

message 14: by Julie (new)

Julie Thanks for this lovely review, Brina. I’m turning (back) to poetry this year, with a pile of “on order” books, and will be adding this one now too. Enjoy your family time and your choice books!

Brina Thank you, Julie. I will have to keep tabs on the poetry you read this year. I always have time for poems.

message 16: by Hélène (new) - added it

Hélène So that will be a luxury to read you.;-)
Thanks for these new names (for me) of American poets.

Brina Thank you, Helene. I compiled a list of 10-15 books that I really want to read. If reading is going to be a luxury anyway, I may as well enjoy myself.

message 18: by Deyanne (new) - added it

Deyanne Great review. It is now on my shelf to read.

Brina I hope you enjoy this, Deyanne.

Celia I just put Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks on hold at the library. Thanks for your recommendations Brina. Of course, this book is on my TBR too. I think I will see if it is in my library. xxoo

Brina The selected poems is a harder read and I might get it again next year when things settle down. I hope you enjoy it, Celia :)

message 22: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken I've had my eye on the new poet laureate for a while. As you've read all of her books (per your review), I wonder which you recommend first and foremost?

Brina Ken, I thought that Duende wasn't as polished as her other work. Life on Mars won the Pulitzer and was just brilliant. I also read her memoir. Many have said that Smith should stick to poetry but I thought the prose here was almost as well done.

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