“To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul” by Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith had already been awarded a Pulitzer Prize and appointed to a second term as Poet Laureate of the United States when she did a reading at my local library (Arlington, Va.) Although I had read her warm and inviting poetry, I was not prepared for the way she pulled me into a conversation in the few minutes after she signed her book. Her attention was warm and generous in spirit. She gave it without measure. I have noticed that same quality as I watched her do interviews on TV for To Free the Captives (Knopf 2023).
The subtitle, A Plea for the American Soul, caused me to catch my breath. Yet, that is the fearless message. In beautiful sentences that sing to us, she tells us, “we can choose to work alongside the generations that precede us in tending to the America’s oldest wounds and meeting the urgencies of the present.”
  As I read To Free the Captives, I found a new hope for our American souls. I think you might also.

(This piece first appeared in Meredith Sue Willis’s newsletter Books For Readers.)

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