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Acclaimed poet Mahogany L. Browne triumphs again with her latest poetry collection Smudge, a
powerful, intimate, and complex portrait of a girl who deserves more than what she is given: a world
in which our hero is both painfully invisible and vulnerably exposed. Browne masterfully invites us
into this girl’s life with language that is evocative, nuanced and immediate. The result is a book that
is incredibly present. You live each moment presented in the book as if it were your own, and feel
deeply the girl’s fears and her humiliations, her hopeful trust and blind love, her shifting sense of
safety and self. But despite the honest and harrowing heartbreak that finds its way into the girl, the
book nonetheless has a defiant beauty, a strength of character and self that willfully defies the limits
others attempt to put on this girl. Browne continues her tradition of creating rich, unflinching, and
unapologetic work cataloguing the world as she sees it, and Smudge sees her at the top of her game.
—Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, NEA Poetry Fellow & author of The Year of No Mistakes