Ellie's Reviews > Wade in the Water: Poems

Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2018indch, poetry, race, socio-political

Tracy K. Smith is the United States Poet Laureate. Wade in the Water is a collection of powerful poems about race, both historically, in our history of slavery specifically during the Civil War (and not only slavery but the mistreatment of the black Union soldiers) along with current examples of violence and hatred toward that which is "othered" in this country (as in African-American, Latinx, and Muslims).

Smith writes in a fascinating variety of styles, from lyrical poems to ghazels to erasure poems. The erasure or "found" poems were especially appealing to me. Smith works from a group of documents, many letters written during the Civil War by both former slaves and also slave owners. She also uses the Declaration of Independence, turning it on its head to create a witness to the violence of slavery. This technique allows many voices to be heard for themselves while shaped by the artist's craft.

I've read the collection twice so far and am ready for a third reading. Smith's work is compelling and beautiful. As well as disruptive. It forces you to grapple with issues you might think you already understood and were done with. She teaches you otherwise.

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Reading Progress

July 1, 2018 – Started Reading
July 1, 2018 – Shelved
July 1, 2018 –
page 26
27.37% "A combination of lyrical and found poems. Interesting use of historical documents, supporting the tone of outrage."
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018indch
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: poetry
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: race
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: socio-political
July 1, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Haley Great review Ellie! I’m really looking forward to reading this collection


Ellie Haley wrote: "Great review Ellie! I’m really looking forward to reading this collection"

It's so interesting--I hope you enjoy it.


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