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Life on Mars
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize * A New York Times Notable Book of 2011 and New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice * * A New Yorker, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year * New poetry by the award-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, whose "lyric brilliance and political impulses never falter" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) You lie there kicking like a baby, waiting for God himself To lift you past the rungs of your crib. What Would your life say if it could talk? --from "No Fly Zone" With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe to accompany the discoveries, failures, and oddities of human existence. In these brilliant new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant, and revisits the kitschy concepts like "love" and "illness" now relegated to the Museum of Obsolescence. These poems reveal the realities of life lived here, on the ground, where a daughter is imprisoned in the basement by her own father, where celebrities and pop stars walk among us, and where the poet herself loses her father, one of the engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. With this remarkable third collection, Smith establishes herself among the best poets of her generation.
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vivastory
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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#NationalPoetryMonth Day 12: The tagged volume is one of my favorite poetry collections of all time. Smith's work is so unusual, so memorable. Link to full poem:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55518/the-universe-as-primal-scream

StaceGhost Yes! I love this book. I bought it at the same time as I bought Ross Gay‘s against which. I love them both. 10mo
50 likes1 comment
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merelybookish
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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an excerpt from "Don't You Wonder Sometimes?" Tracy K. Smith's poem about David Bowie.
Full poem https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55520/dont-you-wonder-sometimes
#icon #poetrymatters @TheSpineView

Cathythoughts ❤️ 1y
TheSpineView 😍😍😍 1y
Bookwomble 👨🏼‍🎤💖 #booksandbowie 1y
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SamAnne I love this whole collection! 1y
merelybookish @Bookwomble excellent emoji and hashtag! 💫 1y
merelybookish @SamAnne I've only read a few but generally love her poems. 1y
43 likes7 comments
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stretchkev
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Mehso-so

This just washed over me, not in an unpleasant way just not a particularly memorable way.

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Lcsmcat
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

Loved these poems; some so sad, others so hopeful. This is one to be read slowly, and savored, and then revisited often.

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Lcsmcat
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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SamAnne I love this collection and this poem. 2y
TheSpineView Great choice! 😍 2y
32 likes2 comments
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Lcsmcat
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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#Bookmail! One of the best parts of working from home is being here when the mail comes. 😀

meghathecloud I read Life on Mars last year and loved it. Enjoy! 2y
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vivastory
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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DON'T tell me I'm the only one annoying their co-workers by blasting this at the moment:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYYRH4apXDo &
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZKcl4-tcuo
#PerseveranceRover

MsMelissa Ha ha! My only co-worker is my dog (she‘s not a very good assistant, but she does a good job at keeping my stress levels low 😂). I watched the landing with joy. I really hope that humans can begin exploring other planets in my lifetime. 2y
vivastory @MsMelissa It was a much needed moment of collective celebration in an otherwise grim week for sure. I'm def keeping my fingers crossed for more exploration. I had dreams of being an astronaut when I was a kid & am still thoroughly fascinated by it. Several years ago I had the privilege of attending an event with Scott Kelly. 2y
Lcsmcat The smiles on the faces of every NASA scientist were amazing! Nice to have some good news! 2y
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vivastory @Lcsmcat Loved seeing the smiles. NASA clapping never gets old. The fact that they pulled this off during the pandemic is really inspiring. 2y
Lcsmcat @vivastory It is! And, coincidentally, the tagged poetry collection is due to arrive here tomorrow. Too bad they couldn‘t coordinate to get it to me today, but close. 😀 2y
vivastory @Lcsmcat You're in for a real treat. It's one of my favorites of the past few years. I notice that Smith released a collection a couple of years ago. I def. need to look into it. 2y
MsMelissa @vivastory My only astronaut claim to fame was that I walked past Chris Hadfield in The Louvre of all places! It was super busy and I was too stunned to say anything. I was with a bunch of Aussies and I was all, “OMG! That‘s Chris Hadfield!” They had no idea who he was (this was before he commanded the ISS so he was really only known to Canadians at the time). He also went to the same high school as I did, albeit a few years before I arrived. 🪐 2y
73 likes7 comments
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effani
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

This was just not a brilliant match between reader, format, and book. Still a pick because there were some poems I liked in it, but in general I didn't get much out of it. It didn't help that apparently there were a lot of references to David Bowie songs, which went straight over my head. I'd like to revisit the author's work in text format some day.

#ReadHarder2020: an audiobook of poetry #ReadHarder

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effani
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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I keep having to look again to check that this book was actually published in 2011. It's weirdly prescient - she wrote a poem that sounded like a eulogy for David Bowie before he actually died, and the poem I just listened to talks about war with Iran and election fraud. I guess prescience fits the science fiction theme anyway.

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effani
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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#ReadHarder2020: an audiobook of poetry

I'm not much of a poetry reader and not much of an audiobook person, so this is a hard one. I'm finding it's going in one ear and out the other, and I'm not retaining much. Poetry already makes me feel insecure (thanks, English teachers!), and I don't think the audio format does me any favors. Kind of want to pick this up as a print book later to see what I'm missing. #ReadHarder

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SamAnne
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

My last read of 2019 and a great one. I‘m compelled to post half the poems in Litsy posts but I will refrain! #poetryMatters

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Lcsmcat
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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TheSpineView Great take on the prompt! 🙂 3y
Graywacke Such a terrific title 3y
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BarbaraJean
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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...So much for the flags we bored
Into planets dry as chalk, for the tin cans we filled with fire
And rode like cowboys into all we tried to tame.

—from “The Universe: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” by Tracy K. Smith

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BarbaraJean
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Tina says what if dark matter is like the space between people
When what holds them together isn‘t exactly love, and I think
That sounds right—how strong the pull can be, as if something
That knows better won‘t let you drift apart so easily, and how
Small and heavy you feel, stuck there spinning in place.

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith

"And look at the dog // Still passed out cold, twitching in a dream. // When we stop talking, we hear the soft sounds / He makes in his sleep. Not quite barking. More like // Learning to speak. As if he's in the middle of a scene / Where he must stand before the great dog god // Trying to account for his life."
-"Aubade"
?❤

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith

"Once upon a time, a woman told this to her daughter: // *Save yourself.* The girl didn't think to ask *for what?* // She looked into her mother's face and answered *Yes.* // Years later, alone in the room where she lives // The daughter listens to the life she's been saved from: // Evening patter. Summer laughter. Young bodies // Racing into the unmitigated happiness of danger."
-"No-Fly Zone, 3"

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith

"Some of the prisoners were strung like beef / From the ceilings of their cells. "Gus" / Was led around on a leash. I mean dragged. / Others were ridden like mules. The guards / Were under a tremendous amount of pleasure. / I mean pressure. Pretty disgusting. Not / What you'd expect from Americans. / Just kidding. I'm only talking about people / Having a good time, blowing off steam."
-"Life on Mars, 7"

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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-"Life on Mars"

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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"The Museum of Obsolescence"

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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"It & Co."

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith

"Some like to imagine / A cosmic mother watching through a spray of stars, // Mouthing *yes, yes* as we toddle toward the light, / Biting her lip if we teeter at some ledge. Longing / To sweep us to her breast, she hopes for the best // While the father storms through adjacent rooms / Ranting with the force of Kingdom Come, / Not caring anymore what might snap us in its jaw."
-"My God, It's Full of Stars, 1"

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Bertha_Mason
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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All nine of my library holds came in at once. ☺ First up is Life on Mars.

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BarbaraJean
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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I started this on audio yesterday, and am LOVING it—the voice, the language, and the themes are so fresh and original. I had a writing prof in college who used to say that the best fishing is “far from the Jeep”—and so is the best poetry. These are definitely “far from the Jeep”, and SO good. I requested a print copy from the library, because I know I‘m going to want to get my eyes on these as well as my ears.

Crazeedi Sometimes you have to have the physical book!! 4y
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Weaponxgirl
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

Do you like poetry, sci-fi and David Bowie?
If you do then you want to read this collection by a Pulitzer Prize winner.
I was so entranced by it on audio last night I wasn‘t paying attention and grabbed the hot side of a iron at work. (I‘m a idiot)
Wonderful audio but I also want to get a physical copy to see it all written down and take my time with the words.

Weaponxgirl Tagging you @Bookwomble as I know you are a huge Bowie fan like myself and thought you might be interested if you haven‘t read already 4y
Bookwomble Thanks! 😊❤ This one went under my radar, so I'm chuffed that you've recommended it to me. Stacked, and I'll be on the lookout for it 😁 4y
Weaponxgirl @Bookwomble yay! It‘s weird but now sometimes when I‘m reading something I wonder if a Litsy person has read it as I‘m sure it‘s their thing. 4y
Bookwomble @Weaponxgirl Virtual community 😊 4y
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EyeEssBeeEn
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
Pickpick

Incredible collection of poetry. The triptych on Bowie is wonderful. Excellent language and exploration of the endlessness of space and time and the relationships we attempt to contain within it.

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hwheaties
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

Loved this collection. Such interesting perspectives on so many difference things.

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hwheaties
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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It‘s winter break, so I have time for poetry!! Woo!!

tamaria One of my favorite books of poetry! 4y
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kindergartenkat
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Years later, alone in the room where she lives
The daughter listens to the life she's been saved from:
Evening patter. Summer laughter. Young bodies
Racing into the unmitigated happiness of danger.

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plaidchuck
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

A stunning collection of poems by the current Poet Laureate of the US! From odes to ScFi such as Kubrick's 2001 to memories of her father (who helped develop the first Hubble telescope), she takes you beyond the heavens and brings you back down to Earth. I especially enjoyed her clean style, no wordiness and drawn out metaphors.

Having not read poetry in a while this was a great contemporary read to get back into it. 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟!

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Erin01
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Weaponxgirl
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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#diversespines spine poetry. I found this on scribd after hearing about it on lit hub. Pulitzer Prize winning poetry inspired by Bowie! How can you not want to listen to this?!

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Yes!!! ❤️❤️ 5y
readordierachel Absolutely loved this collection! 5y
Weaponxgirl @ReadOrDieRachel I'm glad to hear 😀 gonna start tonight 5y
Weaponxgirl @Lindy I'm loving all the good reviews 😀 5y
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vivastory
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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I noticed this earlier today. I'm extremely excited. Life on Mars is one of my favorite books of contemporary poetry. With this tomorrow & Madeline Miller & Nnedi Okorafor on Saturday,it is shaping up to be quite the bookish weekend!

readordierachel Awesome!!! I am good-naturedly jealous of your weekend. Have a blast! 5y
vivastory @ReadOrDieRachel Thanks, friend! I'm pretty thrilled! 5y
saresmoore Listen, I‘m not feeling good-natured. I‘m full-on green with envy right now. But, seriously, that is so cool! I‘m sure it will be amazing! And I just got Life on Mars from the library, so now I‘m really looking forward to it. 5y
vivastory @saresmoore It's not often that there are readings here I want to attend. When there are, seems like there's several in a short period of time. I hope you enjoy Smith's book. It'll make you want to listen to David Bowie. 5y
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saresmoore
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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This is from an interview with Jacqueline Woodson & Tracy K. Smith on the question of why poetry is much more widely appreciated in children‘s literature than it is by adults. Read excerpts from the interview here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/books/tracy-k-smith-and-jacqueline-woodson-ta...

saresmoore @TobeyTheScavengerMonk I think you‘ll appreciate this article/interview. 5y
readordierachel Love this, and her! 5y
emilyhaldi This makes so much sense!! I definitely view poems as an adversary 😆😬 (edited) 5y
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saresmoore @ReadOrDieRachel Me, too! And is there any cooler job than being your country‘s Poet Laureate? I really don‘t think there is. 5y
saresmoore @emilyhaldi I have the same tendency! It‘s been really helpful having to teach it to my kids. They just accept it & get it without analysis and it‘s much nicer that way. 5y
Suet624 I love her children‘s books. I‘m always bringing them home from the library for the little ones to listen to. 5y
batsy That's a great quote. Thanks for the link, will check it out. I complain about our local education system and how we were never taught literature in my years of school but in a way, I think it helped! So many people I know hate poetry and literature as adults because of how they were taught it :( 5y
TobeyTheScavengerMonk This was excellent! Thanks so much for sharing! 5y
70 likes8 comments
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SconsinBookyBadger
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Hello, FriYAY! Been missing you since Monday!

The Hobbit #192019challenge #1937

Life on Mars #bowie inspired speculative poetry

Carrie #losersclub

Daughter of Fortune, White Teeth, and Love in the Times of Cholera #mounttbrchallenge

TricksyTails 🙌😊 Carrie!! Yay!! 5y
SconsinBookyBadger @TricksyTails Carrie being returned by previous patron in nick of time! When I arrived at library it wasn‘t there, perhaps the librarian hadn‘t shelved it yet as I tore through the SK section. The next shelf inspection I'm happy dancing my way to check out. 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻 (edited) 5y
DivaDiane I really have to read Life on Mars 5y
SconsinBookyBadger @DivaDiane it‘s a beautiful collection of poetry. “They May Love All That He Has Chosen and Hate All That He Has Rejected” poem reduced me to tears. 5y
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readordierachel
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

"After dark, stars glisten like ice, and the distance they span /
Hides something elemental. Not God, exactly. More like /
Some thin-hipped glittering Bowie-being—a Starman /
Or cosmic ace hovering, swaying, aching to make us see."

I was pretty much destined to love a book of poetry with Bowie references, but this blew away all my expectations and my mind with them. The Pulitzer is well deserved.

vivastory I LOVE this book 5y
readordierachel @vivastory It's amazing! Have you read any of her other work? Is it all this good? 5y
vivastory I read one of her other books & while I enjoyed it, it was nowhere near as magnificent 5y
readordierachel @vivastory Good to know 5y
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Nu20
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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My first poetry read of the year. I'll count this toward my black history month reads. This quote is from the last stanza of part one of the second poem in the book. It's specifically about a rural library... But it's really about the universe. Or perhaps awareness of the universe and how small one man, rallying against the world, truly is. At least that how I took it.

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lilredhen
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Birthday presents from my mom 😍

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Simone_Gibson
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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“The best was having nothing. No hope. No name in the throat and finding the breath in you, the body, to ask.”

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mklong
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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I made my January pick for #PoetryChallenge2018 and it‘s Tracy K. Smith! When she was chosen as Poet Laureate last summer, I am very embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of her 😬 Looking forward to getting to know her now.

Notafraidofwords Her other book is so good 5y
Natasha.C.Barnes Oh those look great! Can't wait to hear about it. 5y
vivastory Life on Mars is fantastic! Don't You Wonder, Sometimes was the perfect poem to read after Bowie's death 5y
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UrsulaMonarch Thanks for posting- stacked! 5y
mklong @Notafraidofwords I‘m glad to hear that. I‘m planning to read that one this month too. 5y
mklong @vivastory Cool. I figure the timing is good with the new Bowie doc on HBO this month too 5y
Lindy Fantastic choice! She‘s great. 👍 5y
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Redwritinghood
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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My older son, who is away at school, sent me some bookish birthday presents!

merelybookish He's got good taste! 5y
Redwritinghood @merelybookish Well, he may have been guided by my Amazon wish list, which he tells me I have way too many books on. 5y
merelybookish @Redwritinghood well he's a good shopper then!😜 Smith's poetry is gorgeous and that shirt is 👌 5y
mrozzz Adorable!! Hope it was a good one 🎉🎁🎈🎉 5y
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utterKATEness
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

“A poem cannot live in hate, a poem cannot live in anger.”
Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate of the United States, gave the Emily Dickinson Poetry Lecture at my university yesterday. She shared old poems and new poems and a moment wherein we (she and those of us in attendance) existed in the same small fraction of the history of eternity—together. #poetry #poetlaureate #poem

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hike.read.repeat
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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When you're able to find a book in under five minutes in a huge university library that uses the Library of Congress classification system and make it to your next class on time. 🙌🏽

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merelybookish
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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From "Don't You Wonder, Sometimes?" By current US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. You can find the entire poem at www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55520/dont-you-wonder-sometimes
#Septembowie #spaceoddity @Cinfhen @Marchpane

Leniverse Nice! But now what are you going to do for the Life on Mars prompt in a week? 😉 5y
merelybookish @Leniverse Good question! 🤔 Although I lapse on photo challenges pretty quickly so... 5y
Leniverse Aha. Might as well use up your best ones early in that case. 😂 5y
batsy Lovely! Hadn't heard of this poet before. But I'm also concerned about the upcoming Life on Mars prompt 😁 5y
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Lacythebookworm
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Pickpick

Solid collection. I especially liked this poem and its cousin poem, "Us & Co."

Jokila Lovely! 5y
Notafraidofwords Have you read her memoir. It's amazing ! I met her in person and also loved her! 5y
Lacythebookworm @Notafraidofwords No, I haven't! Thanks for the recommendation! It sounds amazing and I will add it to my TBR 👍 5y
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Vbrrgirl
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Excited to read this collection by our new Poet Laureate.

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