Above ground Poems

Clint Smith, 1988-

Book - 2023

Clint Smith's vibrant and compelling new collection traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood, and explores how becoming a parent has recalibrated his sense of the world. There are poems that interrogate the ways our lives are shaped by both personal lineages and historical institutions. There are poems that revel in the wonder of discovering the world anew through the eyes of your children, as they discover it for the first time. There are poems that meditate on what it means to raise a family in a world filled with constant social and political tumult. Above Ground wrestles with how we hold wonder and despair in the same hands, how we carry intimate moments of joy and a collective sense of mourning in the same body. Smith�...39;s lyrical, narrative poems bring the reader on a journey not only through the early years of his children's lives, but through the changing world in which they are growing up--through the changing world of which we are all a part.

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2nd Floor New Shelf 811.6/Smith (NEW SHELF) Checked In
2nd Floor New Shelf 811.6/Smith (NEW SHELF) Due Dec 20, 2023
2nd Floor New Shelf 811.6/Smith (NEW SHELF) Checked In
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2023.
Main Author
Clint Smith, 1988- (author)
First edition
Physical Description
xiv, 107 pages ; 25 cm
  • All at Once
  • Waiting on a Heartbeat
  • FaceTime
  • Passage
  • "It's All in Your Head"
  • Trying to Light a Candle in the Wind
  • When People Say "We Have Made It Through Worse Before"
  • By Chance
  • In the Grocery Store You Are Wrapped Tightly onto My Chest
  • Ode to the Electric Baby Swing
  • Ode to the Infant Hiccup
  • Ode to the First Smile
  • Nociception
  • Your National Anthem
  • For Willie Francis, the First Known Person to Survive an Execution by Electric Chair, 1946
  • Roots
  • Across Generations
  • The Drone
  • Pangaea
  • The New York Times Reports That 200 Civilians Have Just Been Killed by U.S. Military Air Strikes
  • The Great Escape
  • Nomenclature
  • This Is an Incomprehensive List of All the Reasons I Know I Married the Right Person
  • Lines in the Sand
  • And the World Keeps Spinning
  • Tree Rings
  • Here Nor There
  • At the Superdome After the Storm Has Passed
  • It Is Halloween Night and You Are Dressed as a Hot Dog
  • When We Took You to the Beach for the First Time
  • Ode to the Bear Hug
  • For Your First Birthday
  • When We Told You Another Baby Was Coming
  • Legacy
  • Counting Descent II
  • Where Are They Now?
  • I Am Looking at a Photo
  • The First Time I Saw My Grandfather Cry
  • Coming Home
  • Cartography
  • After the Storm They Attempted to Identify the Bodies
  • For the Doctors Records
  • Deceit
  • Expedience
  • For the Doctor's Records-Follow-Up
  • We See Another School Shooting on the News
  • The Gun
  • This Year Was the First Year I Could Not Remember Your Voice
  • Ode to the Double Stroller
  • Gold Stars
  • Zoom School with a Toddler
  • In the Ocean There Is a Small Jellyfish
  • Ossicones
  • You Ask Me What Sounds a Giraffe Makes
  • Yesterday Afternoon I Took You to the Park
  • The Most Remarkable Thing About Dinosaurs
  • Ars Poetica
  • Above Ground
  • Tradition
  • What I've Learned
  • Dance Party
  • The Andromeda Galaxy Is the Closest Galaxy to Our Milky Way
  • Alarm
  • Prehistoric Questions
  • Punctuation
  • Univers(al)
  • Ode to Bedtime
  • Ode to Those First Fifteen Minutes After the Kids Are Finally Asleep
  • When Standing in a Cabin at the Whitney Plantation
  • Look at That Pond
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
Review by Booklist Review

A poet best known for his critically acclaimed treatise on slavery in the U.S., How the Word Is Passed (2021), Smith returns to verse with a focus on fatherhood, childhood, and race in America. Smith's poems are rich with fond nods to prenatal doctor's appointments and Dr. Seuss and exacting odes to phenomena as tiny as an infant hiccup. He celebrates the unbridled joy of an impromptu supermarket dance party, "we turn the space between Pop / Tarts and Quaker Oats into Showtime at the Apollo." He offers aphorisms that hit hard in light of the climate catastrophe: "The river that gives us water to drink is the same one that might wash us away." And Smith presents a jaw-dropping concrete poem, "For Willie Francis, the First Known Person to Survive an Execution by Electric Chair, 1947," composed in devastating bisyllabic lines that take the shape of an electric chair: "Wet face. / Soft skin. / Mouth shut. / Eyes closed. / Heart beats. / Strapped tight. / Heads bend. / Flips switch. / They think. / Boy breathes."

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Smith, whose How the Word Is Passed won the 2021 nonfiction National Book Critics Circle Award, returns to poetry in this, his second collection (after Counting Descent). His focus here is on Black fatherhood and the immense responsibility that parenting entails ("When I speak to my son I carry/ the echo of generations") when the "moral arc of the universe/ does not bend in a direction that comforts us." As he watches his young children grow--fragile blossoms of wonder and beauty amid the world's chaos and violence--he wonders how he can protect them, writing: "I am trying to inhale all the smoke/ from this burning world while/ asking you to hold your breath." In candid lyric poems often written in direct address to his son and daughter, Smith exquisitely captures the anxiety, love, uncertainty, and joy that accompany the challenge of nurturing nascent human lives, all the while casting a nervous eye on the unstable natural, social, and political environments they'll inherit. VERDICT While this collection will resonate most deeply with parents, its wisdom, humanity, and sheer eloquence speak to a time and condition all readers will recognize.--Fred Muratori

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