American Journal is a marvelous anthology of contemporary poetry that captures the multiplicity and complexity of the human condition in the American landscape. Selected by our country's Poet Laureate, these poems give voice to small-town dwellers, lovers in awe, the working class, the unafraid, the mourning, the critical, the nostalgic, lovers of land and its living things, members of the margins, and much in between. Whether you're new to poetry or you can't imagine in your life without it, this slim, pocket-sized volume of poems invites you sit with the mundane and indescribable. Within its pages, find questions, answers and a seat at a table that was made for your return.— From Nadia
A landmark anthology envisioned by Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate of the United States
American Journal presents fifty contemporary poems that explore and celebrate our country and our lives. Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith has gathered a remarkable chorus of voices that ring up and down the registers of American poetry. In the elegant arrangement of this anthology, we hear stories from rural communities and urban centers, laments of loss in war and in grief, experiences of immigrants, outcries at injustices, and poems that honor elders, evoke history, and praise our efforts to see and understand one another. Taking its title from a poem by Robert Hayden, the first African American appointed as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, American Journal investigates our time with curiosity, wonder, and compassion.
Among the fifty poets included are: Jericho Brown, Natalie Diaz, Matthew Dickman, Mark Doty, Ross Gay, Aracelis Girmay, Joy Harjo, Terrance Hayes, Cathy Park Hong, Marie Howe, Major Jackson, Ilya Kaminsky, Robin Coste Lewis, Ada Límon, Layli Long Soldier, Erika L. Sánchez, Solmaz Sharif, Danez Smith, Susan Stewart, Mary Szybist, Natasha Trethewey, Brian Turner, Charles Wright, and Kevin Young.
About the Author
Tracy K. Smith is the author of four poetry collections, including Wade in the Water and Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. In 2017, she was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. She teaches at Princeton University.
“Tracy K. Smith . . . pulled together 50 poems by contemporary writers to create a literary sampling of the American experience. There are lyrics you’ll cheer with, elegies you’ll weep with, and stories you won’t forget. Get one for yourself and one for a friend.”—Wirecutter
“American Journal serves as a strong overview of the poetry of our current moment. . . . It is refreshing to read a book that unifies our diverse perspectives.”—ZYZZYVA
“These fifty poems bear witness to what it means to come from and belong to this remarkably vast and varied nation. In these lines, I am reminded that no matter who we are, we have something urgent and life-changing to offer one another. American Journal is an invitation to listen and to feel.”—Tracy K. Smith