“Sinewy Modifiers in Tracy K. Smith’s ‘The Museum of Obsolescence’,” an essay by alum Jennifer Givhan (poetry, ’15) appears at Red Paint Hill:

Upon first reading Tracy K. Smith’s poem “The Museum of Obsolescence,” I was engaged by the musical sound and texture of her lines. In fact, my favorite lines in the entire collection Life on Mars are from this poem: “Our faulty eyes, our telltale heat, hearts / Ticking through our shirts. We’re here / To titter at the gimcracks, the naïve tools / The replicas of replicas stacked like bricks” (6-9). I love what Smith does with sound (assonance and consonance) and her diction is perfect; I had to look up several words, such as “gimcracks,” and wrote a list of all the words she used that I loved for their richness of sound and texture, their denotative and connotative potential, and that I want to try to incorporate into my own personal lexicon. However, as much as I appreciated the word choice in this poem, I wanted to dig deeper to figure out what kept the poem as a whole from being merely a stale metaphor or trope, a preachy environmentalist call to action.

Continue reading online…

%d bloggers like this: