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Tracy K. Smith conjures her family’s ghosts in ‘To Free the Captives.’

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet’s new memoir evokes her ancestors despite archives eroded by institutional racism.

In Tracy K. Smith’s new book of interlinked essays, “To Free the Captives,” she imagines her dead parents returning as surprisingly no-nonsense specters. The ghost of Smith’s mother counsels her to buy a new car before her old one breaks down, while the ghost of her father directs her attention to small beauties: “a heron over a pond, or a woodpecker battering a tree.”

The Washington Post, Review by Becca Rothfeld - November 2, 2023 at 3:09 p.m. EDT

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