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Ordinary Light: A Memoir

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By Tracy K. Smith

In Ordinary Light, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith tells her remarkable story, giving us a quietly potent memoir that explores her coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter. Here is the story of a young artist struggling to fashion her own understanding of belief, loss, history, and what it means to be black in America.

Paperback, 368 pages

Dimensions: 7.25 x 10.25 x 0.5 inches


One of the Best Books of the Year
The New York Times • The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle • Denver Post •

“Engrossing in its spare, simple understatement. . . . Evocative . . . luminous.” — The Washington Post

“A subtle, elegant meditation that reveals the profound in the quotidian. . . . Exquisitely beautiful.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“Honest, unflinching . . . an inspiring model for seeking the light in an ‘ordinary’ life—ask the tough questions, look in the hidden corners, allow yourself to understand and never stop searching for faith.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“Transcendent. . . . Lovely, languid, and painful.” — Slate

Tracy K. Smith has been appointed Poet Laureate of the United States by the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Smith will begin her tenure in September 2017. Smith is the author of two previous poetry collections: Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award, and The Body’s Question, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She teaches at Princeton University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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