Winner, 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award
Finalist, 2017 NAACP Image Awards
One Book One New Orleans 2017 Book Selection
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.
"So many of these poems just blow me away. Incredibly beautiful and powerful."
—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
In Counting Descent, Clint Smith reflects “even the universe is telling us/ that we can never get too far// from the place that created us.” Smith weaves histories, from collective to personal, to make indelible archetypes of those places that have created us all. These poems shimmer with revelatory intensity, approaching us from all sides to immerse us in the America that America so often forgets. The broad sweep of Smith’s vision delivers a sudden awareness: In this poet's hands, we sense, like Rilke, there is no place that does not see you.
—Gregory Pardlo, author of Digest