The Body's Question

The Body's Question

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Author: Tracy K. Smith

Publisher: Graywolf Press (2003)

The debut collection by former Poet Laureate of the United States Tracy K. Smith, which also received the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet (selected by Kevin Young).

Confronting loss, historical intersections with race and family, and the threshold between childhood and adulthood, Smith gathers courage and direction from the many disparate selves encountered in these poems, until, as she writes, "I was anyone I wanted to be."

The Body's Question is an answer to pure passion, but the beauty is that the brain isn’t divorced from the body. The strength of character in these marvelous poems delights and questions. Here’s a voice that can weave beauty and terror into one breath, and the unguarded revelations are never verbal striptease.”

–Yusef Komunyakaa

“How delightful it is to fall under the lucid and quite more than lovely spell of Tracy K. Smith’s debut collection. Smith’s work is deceptively plainspoken, but these are poems that are powerfully wrought, inspiring in all the clarity of their many gospel truths. The Body's Question announces a remarkable new voice, brilliantly bundled, ingeniously belted down.”

–Lucie Brock-Broido