Dark Testament

Dark Testament gives voice to the mournful dead, their lives unjustly lost to violence, and to the grieving chorus of protestors in today’s Black Lives Matter movement, in search of resilience and hope. With poems found within the text of George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo, Smith embarks on an uncompromising exploration of collective mourning and crafts a masterwork that resonates far beyond the page.

“I love this tremendously skillful, timely, and dazzling repurposing of passages of my novel Lincoln in the Bardo. Crystal Simone Smith has, with her amazing ear and heart, found, in that earlier grief, a beautiful echo for our time.”
—George Saunders, New York Times–bestselling author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December

“It has never been the case that death has no voice. And these poems, by Crystal Simone Smith, remind us of this—making the case not just that the memories of Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, and Oscar Grant matter, but that what they might say of the world is always far more nuanced and complicated than we might imagine. What Smith has been able to do with these poems is compelling.”
—Reginald Dwayne Betts, MacArthur Fellow and author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison.