On D.H Tracy’s poetic voyage through the concept of normality

On D.H Tracy’s poetic voyage through the concept of normality

On D.H Tracy’s poetic voyage through the concept of normality


”sporadically (like clockwork,
unlike clockwork), something
goes thlunk into the pond of you,
and the normal expires.” 
– The New New Normal by D.H Tracy


With The New New Normal, D.H Tracy captures the very moment when normality transforms with precision. This poetic encounter connects us to the universal experience of normalcy and how we build our day to day in modern western societies through the rhythm of ever-changing cycles in attempts to achieve balance. 

The New New Normal is an exploration of the unexpected landscape of a lifetime, or perhaps many lifetimes, written at a fast pace leaving just enough breathing room for reflection in between the lines. The author seems to be observing everyday life, as it passes him by, from an outside viewpoint. It is a grounding poetic meditation on our present existence carefully thought out and cleverly written whit wit. 

I must confess I am not an avid reader of poetry, and what I experience through this poem may be different from your experience. This poem makes me think about the perception of identity, our own and others. I question my view of generations past, held up through one perspective, and I feel encouraged to see and think of the interchangeable parts of life and beyond. The shapes of our sense of being are ever moving, and normality is a concept that, in reality, probably does not exist.

D.H Tracy is a poet, critic and former archive editor of Poetry Foundation. His debut poetry collection Janet’s cottage was published in 2012 and was the winner of the New Criterion Poetry Prize. D.H. Tracy’s poems and literary reviews have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, The New York Times Book Review, Literary Imagination, The Iowa Review, and Contemporary Poetry Review, amongst others.

The New New Normal was published in the Paris Review winter 2020 issue.

More by this poet can be found on the Poetry Foundation website.