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By Tracy K. Smith

He has
              sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people
He has plundered our
                                           ravaged our
                                                                         destroyed the lives of our
taking away our­

                                  abolishing our most valuable

and altering fundamentally the Forms of our

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for
Redress in the most humble terms:
                                                                Our repeated
Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.
We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration
and settlement here.
                                    —taken Captive
                                                                    on the high Seas
                                                                                                     to bear—

Tracy K. Smith, "Declaration" from Wade in the Water.  Copyright © 2018 by Tracy K. Smith.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press,

  • Living
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. Her book, Life on Mars (2011), won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship. She has also written a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. In June 2017, Smith was named U.S. poet laureate. She has taught at Princeton University and Harvard University. See More By This Poet

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