The Body's Question : Poems
Author(s): Tracy K. Smith, Kevin Young
The debut collection by the Poet Laureate of the United States
* Winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize *
You are pure appetite. I am pure
Appetite. You are a phantom
In that far-off city where daylight
Climbs cathedral walls, stone by stolen stone.
--from "Self-Portrait as the Letter Y"
The Body's Question by Tracy K. Smith received the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African-American poet, selected by Kevin Young. Confronting loss, historical intersections with race and family, and the threshold between childhood and adulthood, Smith gathers courage and direction from the many disparate selves encountered in these poems, until, as she writes, "I was anyone I wanted to be."
“How delightful it is to fall under the lucid and quite more than lovely spell of Tracy K. Smith's debut collection. Smith's work is deceptively plain-spoken, but these are poems that are powerfully wrought, inspiring in all the clarity of their many gospel truths. The Body's Question announces a remarkable new voice, brilliantly bundled, ingeniously belted down.” —Lucie Brock-Broido