Tracy K. Smith
Bursting at the seams with energy we neither feel
Nor see, flush against us, living, dying, deciding,
Setting solid feet down on planets everywhere,
Bowing to the great stars that command, pitching stones
At whatever are their moons. They live wondering
If they are the only ones, knowing only the wish to know,
And the great black distance they--we--flicker in.This unforgettable book has several poems like this one, poems that reach after the largest themes while keeping themselves grounded in the particularities of the poet's sense of loss yet move outside the confines of one life because they assume the dress of our popular culture. But there are other, smaller poems that start out funny and then turn quickly into something often deeply provocative. In Life on Mars, Tracy K. Smith proves herself a masterful poet using the whole range of our language to contemplate the very edges of the real and the emotional universes.