Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tracy K. Smith and Life on Mars

Here's a lovely review of Tracy K. Smith's newest collection, Life on Mars, which includes strong poems on her father's death, childbirth, and telling moments of our times. Her second book, The Duende Poems is one of my favorite books of all times. There is also an excellent essay on the Poetry Foundation web site by her on language and translation (which I cannot find this morning but have printed out in the past). Check her out; I believe she's a poet we will be hearing much more from...and certainly about.

Poems of Childhood, Grief,  and Deep Space
by Joel Brouer

I won’t blame you for not believing this: The photograph on the cover of Tracy K. Smith’s “Life on Mars” is the same one I see every day on my computer desktop. It’s a dramatic and vivid picture from the Hubble Space Telescope, with colors I imagine J. M. W. Turner would have admired, of the Cone Nebula, a pillar of dust and gas some 2,500 light-years from Earth. Scientists say it’s an incubator for baby stars. I’ve long used the image as an efficient and emphatic corrective for solipsism. I look at it when I find myself fretting about, say, book review deadlines or my spotty gym attendance. You can’t simultaneously contemplate the vastness of the universe and take such problems seriously.

Click here to continue reading New York Times review.


  1. 3 things : i love poetry. i like the word alchemist. my favorite writer comes from Seattle. i must follow you blog ; )

  2. Welcome, Demie,
    Thank you for your kind words and for finding me all the way across the sea