Smith’s reimaginings of authority are fundamentally intertwined with concerns about race, as well as about gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic class, all of which she has explicitly addressed. She has given us a small Black girl as a poem’s authoritative center (reminiscent of Lucille Clifton’s “the earth is a living thing”); she has made the voices of victims of hate crimes echo from America’s most iconic monuments. Which is why I struggled somewhat with Smith’s remark, in an interview with The Adroit Journal, that it wasn’t until she wrote her memoir Ordinary Light (2015) that she realized “how much [she] needed to talk about race.” It’d been my sense that, implicitly and explicitly, she’d been talking about race for years.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
… The Trouble You Promised: Reading Tracy K. Smith - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)