Spectral Evidence: Poems (Hardcover)

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A powerful meditation 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 cerebral and at other times warm, inviting and deeply personal, Spectral Evidence compels us to consider how we think about devotion, beauty and art; about the criminalization and death of Black bodies; about justice—and about how these have been inscribed into our present, our history, and the Western canon: “If I could be / the forensic dreamer / . . . / . . . my art would be a mortician’s / paints.”

About the Author

GREGORY PARDLO's collection Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Pardlo is also the author of Air Traffic, a memoir in essays, and Totem. His poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Nation, The New York Times, and elsewhere. His other honors include fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Pardlo is poetry editor at Virginia Quarterly Review, codirector for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University, and a visiting associate professor of practice in Literature & Creative writing at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Praise For…

“When one of America’s foremost poets publishes a collection for the first time in nearly a decade it is a major event—particularly when that poet is uniquely suited to grappling with what’s been going on in America over the past nine years…. As ever Pardlo moves through poetic registers with ease, from high to low and back again, as he witnesses the world in all its terrible beauty. From fallen heroes of professional wrestling (seriously) to this country’s infinite hostility to its Black citizens, Pardlo’s is the poetic eye (and heart) we need right now.” —Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub

“Stunning. . . . [Pardlo] is adept at wordplay. . . . Each poem demands to be read on a granular level. . . . Form, lyricism, and imagery are expertly presented, and the result is a compelling, cohesive collection addressing timely topics. A beautiful addition to Pardlo's already impressive oeuvre.” 
Booklist, *starred review*

“[Spectral Evidence] lays bare the flimsy foundations of America’s justice system. . . . With characteristic intelligence, Pardlo confronts uncomfortable and enduring truths.”
Publishers Weekly, *starred review*

“Infused with a scholar’s deep knowledge of literature, art, and history. . . . [Spectral Evidence is] complex, linguistically rich, and unsparing in its analysis of both the current national psyche as well as the poet’s own.”
Library Journal, *starred review*
Product Details
ISBN: 9781524731786
ISBN-10: 1524731781
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: January 30th, 2024
Pages: 128
Language: English