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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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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!! 5mo
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Weaponxgirl
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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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 7mo
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 😁 7mo
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. 7mo
Bookwomble @Weaponxgirl Virtual community 😊 7mo
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EyeEssBeeEn
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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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! 11mo
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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!!! ❤️❤️ 1y
readordierachel Absolutely loved this collection! 1y
Weaponxgirl @ReadOrDieRachel I'm glad to hear 😀 gonna start tonight 1y
Weaponxgirl @Lindy I'm loving all the good reviews 😀 1y
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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! 2y
vivastory @ReadOrDieRachel Thanks, friend! I'm pretty thrilled! 2y
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. 2y
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. 2y
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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. 2y
readordierachel Love this, and her! 2y
emilyhaldi This makes so much sense!! I definitely view poems as an adversary 😆😬 (edited) 2y
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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. 2y
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. 2y
Suet624 I love her children‘s books. I‘m always bringing them home from the library for the little ones to listen to. 2y
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 :( 2y
TobeyTheScavengerMonk This was excellent! Thanks so much for sharing! 2y
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AnansiGirl
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!! 2y
AnansiGirl @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) 2y
DivaDiane I really have to read Life on Mars 2y
AnansiGirl @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. 2y
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readordierachel
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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"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 2y
readordierachel @vivastory It's amazing! Have you read any of her other work? Is it all this good? 2y
vivastory I read one of her other books & while I enjoyed it, it was nowhere near as magnificent 2y
readordierachel @vivastory Good to know 2y
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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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Jessicaswebster
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 2y
Natasha.C.Barnes Oh those look great! Can't wait to hear about it. 2y
vivastory Life on Mars is fantastic! Don't You Wonder, Sometimes was the perfect poem to read after Bowie's death 2y
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UrsulaMonarch Thanks for posting- stacked! 2y
mklong @Notafraidofwords I‘m glad to hear that. I‘m planning to read that one this month too. 2y
mklong @vivastory Cool. I figure the timing is good with the new Bowie doc on HBO this month too 2y
Lindy Fantastic choice! She‘s great. 👍 2y
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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! 2y
Redwritinghood @merelybookish Well, he may have been guided by my Amazon wish list, which he tells me I have way too many books on. 2y
merelybookish @Redwritinghood well he's a good shopper then!😜 Smith's poetry is gorgeous and that shirt is 👌 2y
mrozzz Adorable!! Hope it was a good one 🎉🎁🎈🎉 2y
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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? 😉 2y
merelybookish @Leniverse Good question! 🤔 Although I lapse on photo challenges pretty quickly so... 2y
Leniverse Aha. Might as well use up your best ones early in that case. 😂 2y
batsy Lovely! Hadn't heard of this poet before. But I'm also concerned about the upcoming Life on Mars prompt 😁 2y
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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! 2y
Notafraidofwords Have you read her memoir. It's amazing ! I met her in person and also loved her! 2y
Lacythebookworm @Notafraidofwords No, I haven't! Thanks for the recommendation! It sounds amazing and I will add it to my TBR 👍 2y
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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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youngreadrshelf
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Got to love a poet who uses Bowie in one of her poems.

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youngreadrshelf
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Starting this one tonight. I finally found it. After she became the US Poet Laureate this year, I went looking for her books in bookstores. I went to quite a few before I found it. (Yes, I probably could have ordered it from Amazon or something, but where's the fun in that?)

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

A touch of science and science fiction, along with pop culture references (Bowie is a key figure in a couple of poems) adds depth to these poems that are about life in the present moment. The poet‘s father worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and many of the poems deal with loss, including the loss of him. One of my personal favorites is “The Good Life,” which you can read here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56376/the-good-life

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Carissa-Green-Reads
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Jane says, "Back to the library (now that you have a signed copy of your own)!" #returns

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Carissa-Green-Reads
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Jealous?

Carissa-Green-Reads Full House 2y
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dixi_e
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Feb. 9 - My God, Its Full of Stars. #LitsyPoetry365

dixi_e I was too tired to comment last night but I loved the image of a cup full of pencils "all gnawed on by the same population". Not only could I see this ragged and rubbed yellow pencil ends but I could smell the lead and feel it between my own teeth. (edited) 3y
SharonGoforth ❤❤ 3y
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allusory
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Excited to find this at my small rural library today. Can't wait to get started!

Notafraidofwords Loved her bio. 3y
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kaitkingly
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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And yes, we'll live to be much older, thanks / To popular concensus. Weightless, unhinged / Eons from even our own moon, we'll drift / In the haze of space, which will be, once / And for all, scrutable and safe.

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JessReads
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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JessReads
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Some late-ish night subway reading #litsyafterdark

MrBook Nice! 😎👏🏻👍🏻 3y
Shortstack How is this?!?! Looks interesting! 3y
katedensen Is the title a David Bowie reference? 3y
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JessReads @Shortstack It was excellent! I'm trying to read more poetry, and this came highly recommended. I really enjoyed it. 3y
JessReads @katedfisher Yes! She writes about Bowie in several different poems! 3y
katedensen @JessReads Interesting! I might have to check this one out! 3y
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emtobiasz
Life on Mars: Poems | Tracy K. Smith
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Metaphors for time and space in "My God, It's Full of Stars"