My friend Lora knows what a geek I am. She knows I’m into sci-fi, and so she lent me Tracy K. Smith’s Life on Mars. First of all, as you can see, it’s got a gorgeous cover — an image of the Clone Nebula. However, the book is just as gorgeous inside. Not visually, — well, it’s a book, with white pages and black print, handsome as far as font and paper goes, but that’s not the point. The point is that the poems are very enjoyable indeed.
Thumb through this book and you’ll run into David Bowie, scenes from 2001 — A Space Odyssey, and some retro-futuristic settings. Smith combines these various elements (and more, of course) with news items to touch on serious issues — the abuse at Abu Ghraib, numerous shooting sprees that happened in 2009, abduction and incest. The result is both beautiful and haunting.
I know I usually go more in-depth and give you a little taste of what’s in the book, but this is the end of the semester and my batteries are flat. I did, however, want to write at least a brief post about this as a recommended read and, of course, as a note to myself to get my own copy asap, since Lora doubtlessly would like hers back. So, in lieu of a longer discussion, here is a clip of Smith reading from Life on Mars:
and, of course, how could I resist Mr. Bowie — so here’s a link to the song Smith got her title from: