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 Patricia Smith

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Brief Bio

Born and raised in Chicago in 1955 and widely known as a persona poet, Smith has said that she began to writing in others' voices to combat the isolation and loneliness of being the only child of over-protective parents. Her personae-including Medusa, Little Richard, Emmett Till, a Skinhead, and victims of Hurricane Katrina-cross racial, historical, and class boundaries, and often confronting adversity and hardship; they give voice to unspoken stories and hidden truths. She has said she "made a commitment that there was nothing I wouldn't write about."

Poet, teacher, and performance artist, "Smith is herself a storm of beautiful, frightening talent," observed Terrance Hayes. She has brought her poems to venues across the globe, including the Poets Stage in Stockholm, Rotterdam's Poetry International Festival, and the Aran Islands International Poetry and Prose Festival. While performance is intrinsic to her work, she seamlessly reconciles the page with the stage, giving vitality and urgency to both the written and the spoken. As Kurt Heintz reflected, Smith "proved that slam could exceed its saloon origins and engage the literate public."

Patricia is a 4-time individual National Poetry Slam champion and appeared in the 1996 documentary SlamNation, which followed various poetry slam teams as they competed at the 1996 National Poetry Slam in Portland, OR.

In 2006, she was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. The author of five books of poetry, more recently Blood Dazzler, a 2008 National Book Award Finalist, Smith's other honors include the Patterson poetry award, the Pushcart prize, National Poetry Series selection for Teahouse of the Almighty and a Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Big Towns, Big Talk. She has written and performed two one-woman plays, one of which was produced by Derek Walcott's Trinidad Theater Workshop, and is currently working on a verse memoir and a youngadult novel.

A proud Cave Canem faculty member, Smith is a professor at the College of Staten Island, a core faculty member in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada University, and a resident in VONA and in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program.

Poems - 10 in all

Patricia Smith

Sweet Daddy
Hip-Hop Ghazal
Prologue-And Then She Owns You
When Black Men Drown Their Daughters

Patricia Smith - 2     ~ New ~

Always in the Head
They Romp with Wooly Canines
The Sun, Mad Envious, Just Wants the Moon

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