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Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith
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Life on Mars: Poems

by Tracy K. Smith

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2971553,625 (4.17)88

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poetry from Tracy K. Smith. Split into four parts this beautiful and haunting collection will have a lasting impression on readers. One of my favorite passages is even about a library:

"Sometimes, what I see is a library in a rural community.
All the tall shelves in the big open room, And the pencils
In a cup at Circulation, gnawed on by the entire population.

The books have lived here all along, belonging
For week at a time to one or another in the brief sequence
Of family names, speaking (at night mostly) to a face,

A pair of eyes. The most remarkable lies." ( )
  ecataldi | Jun 27, 2018 |
Beautiful and thought-provoking poems that deal with space, death, birth, and David Bowie. It's clear to see why this collection won the Pulitzer! ( )
  kaylaraeintheway | May 31, 2018 |
This was the first book I bought in NYC, and the Book Riot Live conference, and it's the book I carted around the city in my purse, reading in coffee shops and over lunch. When I bought it, I thought the title was referencing Mars, the planet, rather than David Bowie, which was an unexpected resonance -- the high school friend I was staying with in Harlem is dating Iman's daughter. Bowie's step-daughter. There were a number of Bowie stories that weekend.

Now, in between reading this book and writing the review, David Bowie has died. And so much of this book is about death and remembrance and what strings us all together that I need to read it again. All of it again.

This is definitely one of those books of poetry that must be kept on the shelf. To be pulled down, again, in times of need. To read when missing a lost loved one. When feeling connected to the whole universe. When needing to feel connected to the whole universe. When darkness baffles us. When it is all too clear. ( )
1 vote greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
Best for: People unsure about poetry but looking for a way in.

In a nutshell: Collection of poems about life. Not just on mars.

Line that sticks with me:
“I didn’t want to believe
What we believe in those rooms:

That we are blessed, letting go,
Letting someone, anyone,

Drag open the drapes and heave us
Back into our blinding, bring lives.”

Why I chose it: There’s a poetry square on the summer reading BINGO I’m playing, and I figured, why not start with something from our nation’s Poet Laureate?

Review: As I mentioned in the title, I don’t believe that I’ve read any poetry since high school. This slim collection seemed manageable, plus I loved the cover.

Having read it, I’m sure that I’m missing some layers of meaning, but even with that acknowledgment, I can still say that I enjoyed this collection. I can see myself going back to it in the future, re-reading some of the poems.

The poem “They May Love All That He Has Chosen and Hate All That He Has Rejected” was especially powerful, as Ms. Smith explores some particularly hate-filled murders (hopefully you know what I mean by that), including that of abortion provider George Tiller. In one section of it, she has the murdered writing postcards to their killers. It’s powerful.

I’m not sure how much more poetry I’ll choose to read. In my city we have a poetry bookstore, so I might go in later this year and see if they have suggestions on more poems, and also on ways to really understand and read them. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 15, 2017 |
http://time.com/4817994/tracy-k-smith-poet-laureate/
"As all the best poetry does, 'Life on Mars' first sends us out into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then returns us to ourselves, both changed and consoled."

From "My God, It's Full of Stars"
...Sometimes, what I see is a library in a rural community.
All the tall shelves in the big open room. And the pencils
In a cup at Circulation, gnawed on by the entire population.

The books have lived here all along, belonging
For weeks at a time to one or another in the brief sequence
Of family names, speaking (at night mostly) to a face,

A pair of eyes. The most remarkable lies.
...
Perhaps the great error is believing we're alone...
  JennyArch | Jun 16, 2017 |
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A collection of poems in which Tracy K. Smith examines the discoveries, failures, and oddities of humans.

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