** Ordinary Light by Tracy Smith


Ordinary Light is a memoir of a childhood in a happy, middle-class black family in Northern California, centered on the author’s relationship with her mother, a strong, deeply religious woman who encouraged her to study and achieve, often at great personal cost — her job, for instance, when she felt that her daughter needed her to be home after school.

From an accomplished writer, the book feels surprisingly disjointed, but perhaps that’s what poetry is all about, thoughts that do not need to coalesce into a coherent thread.

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