cover image Such Color: New and Selected Poems

Such Color: New and Selected Poems

Tracy K. Smith. Graywolf, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-1-64445-067-3

Pulitzer winner and former poet laureate Smith (Wade in the Water) returns with an incisive collection of poems from her four books as well as 18 new poems that reproach ignorance and denial while championing a collective voice for women and the Black community. Traversing history and continents, Smith considers the universe, "One notch below bedlam, like a radio without a dial./ Wide open, so everything floods in at once. And sealed tight, so nothing escapes. Not even time." Throughout, she contemplates how fortitude combats grief: "rapt, we watch it rise through our fallen,/ our slain, our millions dragged, chained./ Like day-light setting leaves alight-/green to gold to blinding white./ Like a spirit caught. Flame-inflesh." Some of the most poignant poems address racism and violence, illustrating their overlooked psychological burdens: "A nut drops onto fallen leaves/ And my heart leaps// What approaches through/ This ringing in the trees/ And what warning does it carry//From the sea?" Smith provides sensuous, lyrical narratives with oracular depth. Both timeless and urgent, this serves as a humbling and invigorating reawakening from sorrow and apathy. (Oct.)