Walking Back Up Depot Street

depot200.gif (28520 bytes)In Pratt’s 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 story—the public history—of 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 up—and 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 singers—and 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 demagogue—and mine—inhabit 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
Phone: 773-702-7000
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"This ambitious work which brilliantly uses biography, historical documents, newspaper reportage, oral history, fragments from testimony and interviews, never lets the reader down, not as art or as evidence….Here, as Pratt writes her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

flowbut3.gif (919 bytes) Why I wrote Walking Back Up Depot Street

Washington Blade Interview about Walking Back Up Depot Street

Selections from Walking Back Up Depot Street in English

"The White Star" from Walking Back Up Depot Street available on-line in Ploughshares magazine 

More about Walking Back Up Depot Street

review of Walking Back Up Depot Street

Interview and exert from Walking Back Up Depot Street