Danez Smith

Great Poets

Poet Danez Smith

Danez Smith


Danez Smith is a prolific writer whose work focuses on their experiences of racism as a nonbinary Black person in America. Born in St. Paul, Minn., they address the rural American experience as well.

They have published four books, one of which was short-listed for the National Book Award – Don't Call Us Dead (2017).  In 2014, they were the festival director for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. Former co-host of the Webby-nominated, Poetry Foundation podcast VS (Versus), they are the recipient of many fellowships and winner of a Pushcart Prize.
 

[Photo credit: Hieu Minh Nguyen, Poetry Foundation]

Biography: 

Poetry:

dear white america: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/150542/dear-white-america
 

alternate names for black boys

By Danez Smith

[https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/56843/alternate-n…]

1.   smoke above the burning bush
 
2.   archnemesis of summer night
 
3.   first son of soil
 
4.   coal awaiting spark & wind
 
5.   guilty until proven dead
 
6.   oil heavy starlight
 
7.   monster until proven ghost
 
8.   gone
 
9.   phoenix who forgets to un-ash
 
10. going, going, gone
 
11. gods of shovels & black veils
 
12. what once passed for kindling
 
13. fireworks at dawn
 
14. brilliant, shadow hued coral
 
15. (I thought to leave this blank
 
       but who am I to name us nothing?)
 
16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint
 
17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath

 

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