Danez prepares to go on stage

Black Poetry Matters

I am trying to discover where the oldest musical instruments are to be found. Expecting to find these in Africa. Thought I should listen to what young Black voices are saying today.

Danez Smith is the author of two books, the first won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry.  One juror opined that Smith’s poetry was remarkable for his “surprising, morally urgent poems.” His second book published in 2017, Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems, was a finalist for the poetry section of the National Book Award.  At 29 years, Smith also became the youngest recipient of the Forward’s Prize £10,000 for this collection, Don’t Call Us Dead.

Smith has been a finalist in World Poetry Slam, finishing second in 2014. In 2018, Smith’s sonnet sequence “summer, somewhere” received the inaugural Four Quartets Prize. 

Here is a powerful poem ‘Dear White America’, with tremendous use of imagery and delivered in a musical style on stage at a conference.


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