Harvard Book Store presents Clint Smith
Run Time: 90 min.
Harvard Book Store Presents:
Above Ground: Poems
in conversation with TRACY K. SMITH
Harvard Book Store welcomes Harvard University alumnus CLINT SMITH—bestselling author of Counting Descent and How the Word is Passed—for a discussion of his new collection Above Ground. He will be joined in conversation by award-winning poet TRACY K. SMITH.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Brattle Theatre events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the venue. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth. At venues where refreshments are served, attendees may briefly unmask when actively eating or drinki
- To limit contact, books will be pre-signed by the author and can be purchased on-site at the event, while supplies last.
There are two ticket options available for this event.
Book-Included Ticket: Includes admission for one and one hardcover copy of Above Ground.
Admission-Only Ticket: Includes admission for one.
About Above Ground
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.
Praise for Above Ground
“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
“I’m so grateful that Clint Smith’s poems remind us of our interdependence on each other—on chrysanthemums, jellyfish, plankton, to note just a few of his magnificent poetic negotiations—all while turning his wide and generous eyes to fatherhood. This book is an illumination I sorely needed of both the outdoors and the quotidian—a joyful embrace and legacy of bright language and poignant questions.” ―Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders
“Clint Smith’s poems make palpable the soap-bubble thinness of borders—the contingent boundaries of love and loss, past and present, sanctuary and violence, ‘us’ and ‘them.’ With inextinguishable generosity and abundant wisdom, he shows us the linkages that both bind and divide us—as family, as community, as nation, as world: ‘The river that gives us water to drink is the same one that might wash us away.’ I am so grateful for these luminous poems.” ―Monica Youn, author of Blackacre
Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of the poetry collection Counting Descent. The book won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He has received fellowships from New America, the Emerson Collective, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review and elsewhere. Born and raised in New Orleans, he received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University.
Photo Credit: Calvin Gavion
Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith is the author of three acclaimed books of poetry, including most recently Life on Mars, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and a New Yorker, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A professor of creative writing at Princeton University, she lives in Princeton with her family.
Photo Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths