A remarkable poetry collection with “inextinguishable generosity and abundant wisdom” (Monica Youn) 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.
“I think there is an emergent theory, and maybe also a demand, when Clint Smith considers the brutalizing facts and language of war almost alongside a reverie about sprinkling sand on his baby’s feet; when he mourns the long and brutal and ongoing history of American slavery almost alongside making French toast with the kids or dancing until the whole family falls down. When he makes us witness the most incomprehensibly awful (and daily) brutalities not only beside but almost in tandem with the most incomprehensibly tender (and daily) actions of care. It’s a theory, and a demand, to which I think we must pay very close attention.”―Ross Gay, author of Inciting Joy