"The joys of being a parent to small children are myriad, but so are the trials and so are (especially in 2023) the existential terrors. Clint Smith captures all of the pathos of modern parenthood in his new collection, Above Ground. And while this collection is particularly poignant for parents, it also reflects the contradictions of modern life more broadly. Alongside poems about family breakfasts and FaceTime calls sit poems about the legacy of slavery and the uncertainty of living on a warming planet. Sometimes both in the same poem. It is a scary and sad place, Smith acknowledges, but there's so much joy and hope to be found too."
A remarkable poetry collection from Clint Smith, the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of How the Word Is Passed.
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’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.
Above Ground is a breathtaking collection that follows Smith's first award-winning book of poetry, Counting Descent.