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Spectral Evidence

Spectral Evidence


Gregory Pardlo
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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."


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.


  • Publisher: ‎Knopf (January 30, 2024)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover: ‎128 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎1524731781
  • ISBN-13: ‎9781524731786
  • Item Weight: ‎10.7 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎5.88 x 0.34 x 8.38 inches
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