Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the opening quote from the book.
The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Find a quote from page 56.
Review, of sorts, to follow.
This is the book I'm highlighting right now---
Title: Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith
Book Beginnings: (from page 3)
Friday 56: (from page 19)
Comments and a bit of a review:
Tracy K. Smith won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2012 for this small volume of poems, focusing to a degree on space and life beyond our understanding. "The Weather in Space" poem asks an important and unanswerable question, Is God a being or pure force? Many of the poems take off from a similar theme and seem to try and answer or at least imagine an answer to that question. Which brings us to the first stanza of the poem "Don't You Wonder, Sometimes?" where David Bowie serves as a "cosmic ace hovering, swaying, aching to make us see." The rest of the poem delights as Bowie moves in and out of sight.
The second section of poems focus on Smith's thoughts, feelings about the death of her father, who was an engineer working on the Hubble Space Telescope. I read them in a sort of dispassionate way, thinking that they did not express my feelings after the recent death of my father, but as I closed the book and turned off the lights I realized that a tear was trickling down my cheek. Good poetry does that, it often sneaks up on you.
The third section was full of poems that may have been pulled from headlines. I am not sure. There were no directions given to the readers what to make of the disjointed poems/thoughts. After I read one poem, in which most, but not all the words were italicized, I sat back and asked myself, Did I just read a poem about gang rape? Is that what the poem was about? Gang rape? I reread it. I'm still not sure. Then I spent the next few minutes worried that the poet herself had been gang raped before I decided that the poem's italics meant it wasn't her. Sometimes poetry is like that, it leaves the reader feeling cold and confused.
I haven't finished the book yet, I still have one section to go. After my thrill at the thought of Bowie as a cosmic ace and then my horror at the description of a gang rape, I am not sure what to expect from the rest of the book. I bet I will be surprised.
Tracy K. Smith is the current Poet Laureate of the USA.