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The Universe as Primal Scream Summary & Analysis
by Tracy K. Smith

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The contemporary American poet Tracy K. Smith published "The Universe as Primal Scream" in 2011. The poem's speaker describes the experience of hearing two young children scream as loudly as they can in an upstairs apartment—apparently just for the sake of screaming. The sound of these “primal” shrieks leads the speaker to meditate on the fundamental nature of everyday life, as well as on the fact that so much of the world, the universe, and human existence remains mysterious and unknown. The poem was included in Smith’s collection Life on Mars, which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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