Assuming the voices of flailing politicians, the dying, their survivors, and the voice of the hurricane itself, Smith follows the woefully inadequate relief effort and stands witness to families held captive on rooftops and in the Superdome. She gives voice to the thirty-four nursing home residents who drowned in St. Bernard Parish and recalls the day after their deaths when George W. Bush accompanied country singer Mark Willis on guitar:
The cowboy grins through the terrible din,
And in the Ninth, a choking woman wails
Look like this country done left us for dead.
An unforgettable reminder that poetry can still be “news that stays news,” Blood Dazzler is a necessary step toward national healing.
Patricia Smith is the author of four previous collections of poetry, including Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize. A record-setting, national poetry slam champion, she was featured in the film Slamnation, on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam, and is a frequent contributor to Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog. Visit her website at www.wordwoman.ws.
Finalist for 2013 William Carlos Williams Award
"Patricia Smith is writing some of the best poetry in America today. Ms Smith’s new book, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, is just beautiful—and like the America she embodies and represents—dangerously beautiful. Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah is a stunning and transcendent work of art, despite, and perhaps because of, its pain. This book shines." —Sapphire
"One of the best poets around and has been for a long time." —Terrance Hayes
"Smith's work is direct, colloquial, inclusive, adventuresome." —Gwendolyn Brooks
In her newest collection, Patricia Smith explores the second wave of the Great Migration. Shifting from spoken word to free verse to traditional forms, she reveals "that soul beneath the vinyl."
Patricia Smith is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection. She lives in New Jersey.
Winner, 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
Winner, 2018 BCALA Best Poetry Award
Winner, 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Winner, Abel Meeropol Award for Social Justice
Finalist, Neustadt International Prize for Literature
Finalist, 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
One of the most magnetic and esteemed poets in today’s literary landscape, Patricia Smith fearlessly confronts the tyranny against the black male body and the tenacious grief of mothers in her compelling new collection, Incendiary Art. She writes an exhaustive lament for mothers of the "dark magicians," and revisits the devastating murder of Emmett Till. These dynamic sequences serve as a backdrop for present-day racial calamities and calls for resistance. Smith embraces elaborate and eloquent language— "her gorgeous fallen son a horrid hidden / rot. Her tiny hand starts crushing roses—one by one / by one she wrecks the casket’s spray. It’s how she / mourns—a mother, still, despite the roar of thorns"— as she sharpens her unerring focus on incidents of national mayhem and mourning. Smith envisions, reenvisions, and ultimately reinvents the role of witness with an incendiary fusion of forms, including prose poems, ghazals, sestinas, and sonnets. With poems impossible to turn away from, one of America’s most electrifying writers reveals what is frightening, and what is revelatory, about history.
A National Poetry Series winner, chosen by Edward Sanders.
“What power. Smith’s poetry is all poetry. And visceral. Her poems get under the skin of their subjects. Their passion and empathy, their real worldliness, are blockbuster.”—Marvin Bell
“I was weeping for the beauty of poetry when I reached the end of the final poem.”—Edward Sanders, National Poetry Series judge
From Lollapalooza to Carnegie Hall, Patricia Smith has taken the stage as this nation’s premier performance poet. Featured in the film Slamnation and on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam, Smith is back with her first book in over a decade—a National Poetry Series winner weaving passionate, bluesy narratives into an empowering, finely tuned cele-bration of poetry’s liberating power.
Brand-new stories by: Bill Loehfelm, S.J. Rozan, Ted Anthony, Todd Craig, Ashley Dawson, Bruce DeSilva, Louisa Ermelino, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Michael Largo, Mike Penncavage, Linda Nieves-Powell, Patricia Smith, Shay Youngblood, and Edward Joyce.
"Staten Island, the last of New York City's five boroughs to enter Akashic's noir series, severs as the setting for this exceptionally strong anthology."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Smith’s introduction is a revelation. She knows the Island I have in my head. It was like finding a literary sibling, separated since birth."
"It’s not enough for noir to be dark. It’s got to be bad-ass. Its words, its decaying and horrible beauty have got to hit you like a spiked heel dragged from your guts to your gullet. It’s got to twist the hot knife of passion in that soft space right below your belly while pumping bullets into your heart. It’s got to make you bleed. Akashic Books’ latest in their noir series, Staten Island Noir features some dusky and drop-dead gorgeous gems (emphasis on the dead) that do just that."
--Grub Street Daily
"Staten Island is the forgotten borough, lacking a subway system, left out of Jay-Z's songs, known for organized crime, bad accents, fake tans, and garbage--which makes it a rich setting for Akashic's noir series...In a thrilling tilt-a-whirl of crime and drama, editor Patricia Smith has carefully chosen writers concerned with the true nature of the small suburban borough."
--Electric Literature's "The Outlet"
"Each story in this enjoyable collection has its own charms, if the words 'enjoyable' or 'charms' can be used with these dark tales, and each can stand-alone. However, if, like me, you had always looked at Staten Island as banal and benign, by the book's end your ideas will be forever changed."
Patricia Smith, editor of Staten Island Noir, has won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for her short story included in the anthology, “When They Are Done with Us.”
"Imaginative biography . . . Of particular interest is the authors' ingenious research: they assembled Joshua's story from Margaret and Sam Houston's correspondence and from the family stories of Joshua's descendants."--Booklist
This is the story of the "other" Houston, Joshua, the slave of Margaret Lea until she married Sam Houston and moved to Texas in 1840. Joshua was unique among slaves: he was taught to read and write, and was allowed to keep money he earned. The story is set in a background of historical details about southern social history before, during, and after the Civil War.
Sources include slave autobiographies and biographies; Houston family letters; oral histories of descendants of both Houston families; birth, marriage and death records; land records and deeds; church and school records.
"Joshua Houston's story is absorbing and instructive by itself, but this book is more than the biography of one man . . . It provides nothing less than a detailed account of the emergence of a Black middle class . . . after the Civil War."--Texas Review
—Claudia Rankine, The New York Times, August 2017
“The editors, including tireless poetry advocate Kahn, of this unique, new addition to the Gwendolyn Brooks legacy put together a richly diverse set of poets working with the most unusual and fertile new poetic form created in recent years. National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes invented the Golden Shovel, which he illuminates in his stirring foreword, writing, “Because where do poems come from if not other poems?” In a Golden Shovel poem, the last words in each line are taken from a Brooks poem. A veritable who’s who of contemporary poets tried their hands at this encoded homage, including Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Joy Harjo, Billy Lombardo, Sharon Olds, Alberto Ríos, Tracy K. Smith, and Timothy Yu. Beautifully introduced by Patricia Smith, this is a beguiling and mind-expanding anthology shaped by formal expertise and deep appreciation for the complexity and resonance of Brooks’ work and profoundly nurturing influence. In all, a substantial and dynamic contribution to American literature.”
—Booklist, May 2017
"Gwendolyn Brooks was the first black writer to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry back in 1950. A new book honors her work in using a form called the golden shovel, developed by poet Terrance Hayes. In The Golden Shovel Anthology, poets select a line from a poem of Brooks’s and use it as the closing line or lines in a poem of their own. The result is an expansive and extraordinary assemblage edited by poets Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar, and Patricia Smith.”
—Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe, March 2017
The Golden Shovel Anthology celebrates the life and work of poet and civil rights icon Gwendolyn Brooks through a dynamic new poetic form, the Golden Shovel, created by National Book Award–winner Terrance Hayes.
The last words of each line in a Golden Shovel poem are, in order, words from a line or lines taken from a Brooks poem. The poems are, in a way, secretly encoded to enable both a horizontal reading of the new poem and vertical reading down the right-hand margin of Brooks’s original. An array of writers—including Pulitzer Prize winners, T. S. Eliot Prize winners, National Book Award winners, and National Poet Laureates—have written poems for this exciting new anthology: Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Nikki Giovani, Sharon Olds, Tracy K. Smith, Mark Doty, Sharon Draper, and Julia Glass are just a few of the contributing poets.
The poems found here will inspire a diversity of readers, teachers, and writers of poetry while at the same time providing remarkable access for newcomers, making it ideal for classrooms. The Golden Shovel Anthology will also honor Brooks with publication in 2017, the centenary of her birth.