• Spectral Evidence: Poems

Spectral Evidence: Poems

A powerful mediation on Blackness, beauty, faith, and the force of law, from the beloved award-winning author of Digest and Air Traffic

Elegant, profound, and intoxicating—Spectral Evidence, Gregory Pardlo’s first major collection of poetry after winning the Pulitzer Prize for Digest, moves fluidly among considerations of the pro-wrestler Owen Hart; Tituba, the only Black woman to be accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials; MOVE, the movement and militant separatist group famous for its violent stand-offs with the Philadelphia Police Department (“flames rose like orchids . . . blocks lay open like egg cartons”); and more.

At times challenging and at other times warm, inviting, and deeply personal (“it comes down to this: protecting every breath”), Spectral Evidence forces us to consider how we think about devotion, beauty and art; about the criminalization and death of Black lives; about justice, and how these have been inscribed into our present, our history, and the Western canon: “the forensic dreamer / . . . / . . . my art would be a mortician’s / paints.”

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