|In Pratts fourth collection of poetry, Walking
Back Up Depot Street, we travel to a land we have lived in, but never seen.
We are led by powerful images into what is both a story of the segregated rural South and
the story of a woman named Beatrice who is leaving that home for the postindustrial North.
As Beatrice searches for the truth behind the public storythe public historyof
the land of her childhood, she hears and sees the unknown past come alive. She struggles
to free herself from the lies she was taught while growing upand she finds others
who are also on this journey.
In these dramatically multi-vocal narrative poems, we hear
the words and rhythms of Bible Belt preachers, African-American blues and hillbilly gospel
singersand of sharecropper country women and urban lesbians. We hear the testimony
of freed slaves and white abolitionists speaking against Klan violence, fragments of
speeches by union organizers and mill workers, and snatches of songs from those who
marched on the road to Selma.
Lillian Smith once wrote, "Your poet and demagogueand mineinhabit the
same terrain; poet transforming, bringing new forms out of chaos, demagogue destroying.
Each day, one or the other wins a small battle inside us."
Walking Back Up Depot Street is the work of a poet reclaiming
her history from the hands of the demagogues of the twentieth century.
paper ISBN 0-8229-5895-0
cloth ISBN 0-8229-4096-3
Is available from:
University of Pittsburgh Press
Chicago Distribution Center
11030 South Langley
Chicago, Illinois, 60628-3893
The Pitt Poetry Series
Quotes for Walking
"This ambitious work which brilliantly uses biography, historical documents,
newspaper reportage, oral history, fragments from testimony and interviews, never lets the
reader down, not as art or as evidence
.Here, as Pratt writes her greatest poems, a
heart of flesh is earned by consciousness of the powerful interrelated and
often buried forces that connect us and shape us as who we are."
Toi Derricotte, Author of The Black Notebooks & Tender
Why I wrote Walking Back Up Depot Street
Washington Blade Interview about
Walking Back Up Depot Street
from Walking Back Up Depot Street in English
"The White Star" from Walking
Back Up Depot Street available on-line in Ploughshares
about Walking Back Up Depot Street
Ploughshares review of Walking Back Up Depot Street
Interview and exert from Walking Back Up Depot Street