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Counting Descent

Counting Descent

by Clint Smith

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Black Harvard Doctorate in Poetics launches poetry that explores modern blackness.

Clint Smith's debut poetry collection, Counting Descent, is a coming of age story that seeks to complicate our conception of lineage and tradition. Smith explores the cognitive dissonance that results from belonging to a community that unapologetically celebrates black humanity while living in a world that often renders blackness a caricature of fear. His poems move fluidly across personal and political histories, all the while reflecting on the social construction of our lived experiences. Smith brings the reader on a powerful journey forcing us to reflect on all that we learn growing up, and all that we seek to unlearn moving forward.

- Winner, 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award

- Finalist, 2017 NAACP Image Awards

- 2017 'One Book One New Orleans' Book Selection

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938912665
Publisher: Write Bloody Publishing
Publication date: 01/06/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 409,634
File size: 290 KB

About the Author

The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

Read an Excerpt

From "How to Fight":


Spelling bees were a battleground

where teachers trained me

to wield language as a

tool & fist & weapon & warning

to those who would rather

make an outline out of me.

Table of Contents

Something You Should Know 9

What the ocean said to the black boy 10

For the Boys at the Bottom of the Sea 11

The Boy and His Ball 12

Soles 13

Ode to the Loop-de-Loop 14

My Jump Shot 15

Full-Court Press 17

What the cicada said to the black boy 18

Ode to 9th & O NW 19

What the fire hydrant said to the black boy 20

Counting Descent 21

Keeping Score 23

A lineage 24

Counterfactual 25

Playground Elegy 26

Ode to the Only Black Kid in the Class 27

What the window said to the black boy 28

Saturday Morning Routine 29

When Maze & Frankie Beverly Come on in My House 30

Ode to the Drizzy Drake Hands 32

How to Fight 33

Zero Gravity 34

Ode to the End-of-Year 6th Grade Picnic 35

Passed Down 36

Dissection 37

For Charles 38

For the Boys Who Never Learned How to Swim 40

Beyond This Place 41

For the Taxi Cabs that Pass Me in Harvard Square 42

James Baldwin Speaks to the Protest Novel 43

Canon 44

On Observing My Home After the Storm 45

What is left 46

Lifeline 47

The Protest Novel Responds to James Baldwin 48

The Men in Orange 49

How Malcolm Learned to Read 50

From the Cell Block 51

How to Make an Empty Cardboard Box Disappear in 10 Steps 52

Meteor Shower 53

Chaos Theory 54

No More Elegies Today 56

An Evening at the Louvre 57

An Inquiry 59

Each Morning Is a Ritual Made Just for Us 60

Line/Breaks 61

When They Tell You the Brontosaurus Never Existed 62

Today I Bought a Book for You 63

Shout Out 64

It Is Early December in Cambridge 65

When Mom Braids My Sister's Hair 66

For the Hardest Days 67

Queries of Unrest 68

What the cathedral said to the black boy 69

There is a Lake Here 70

Notes 71

Acknowledgements 72

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