SabirSultan's Reviews > Wade in the Water: Poems

Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
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it was amazing

I truly enjoyed this collection. Smith's poetry is always radically empathic - it reaches out to understand, to see, to make space for the humanity in all of us while never shying away from difficult truths. It is as if her work takes E.M. Forster's "Only Connect," as dictum.

In this collection the frame and context is wide. The poems' subjects are personal, historical, and political.

I found many of the poems moving, but the 2nd section of historical poems reckoning with the United State's history of racial injustice transfixed me most. "I Will Tell You the truth about This, I Will Tell You All about It," an erasure poem comprised of letters and statements of African American soldiers in the Civil War and their families, was haunting.

Also moving were the series of poems reflecting back our current moment where xenophobia and racism seem embedded and on the rise - "Theatrical Improvisation," "Refuge," & "The United States Welcomes You." Smith insists on displaying and centering the humanity of refugees and immigrants, lending her voice to theirs while also centering their stories in the narrative.

I would feel remiss if I did not note that Smith's craft is brilliant. Between poems she switches voices, persons, & tones seamlessly. Smith moves masterfully between the public and the private. Her ability to put simply complex emotions and ideas is remarkable.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 30, 2018 – Shelved
April 30, 2018 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Welsh Particularly great review, Sabir!

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