Patricia Smith


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Not to be confused with Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith (born December 30, 1946)

Patricia Smith (born 1955) is an American poet, spoken word performer, playwright, author, writing teacher, and former journalist.
She was born in Chicago and currently lives in Howell . She is a four-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 on Portland, OR.
She gained notoriety when The Boston Globe asked her to resign after editors discovered her metro column contained fictional characters and fabricated events in violation of journalism practice.
She is also a 2008 National Book Award finalist, winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, the National Poetry Series award, the Patterson poetry award and the Pushcart prize. In 2006, she was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.
She won the Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1997. However, the Boston Globe returned the ASNE award and withdrew her from consideration for a Pulitzer Prize after the newspaper acknowledged that some of her columns contained fabricated people, events, and quotes. Smith admitted to four instances of fabrications in her columns. She was asked to resign from the Globe after this revelation.

Patricia Smith, who has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives,” is the author of five books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurrican Katrina and nominated for a National Book Award, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection published by Coffee House Press. Her poems have been published in The Paris Review and TriQuarterly, as well as many anthologies, including American Voices, The Spoken Word Revolution, and The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry. Smith also penned the critically acclaimed history Africans in America (1999) and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings (2003).[…]

Patricia Smith
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Poems published in Translatum:

« Last Edit: 21 May, 2011, 10:15:25 by Frederique »
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Patricia Smith, What You Pray Toward

Hubbie 1 used to get wholly pissed when I made
myself come. I’m right here! he’d sputter, blood
popping to the surface of his fuzzed cheeks,
goddamn it, I’m right here! By that time, I was
in no mood to discuss the myriad merits of my
pointer, or to jam the brakes on the express train
slicing through my blood, It was easier to suffer
the practiced professorial huff, the hissed invectives
and the cold old shoulder, liver-dotted, quaking
with rage. Shall we pause to bless professors and
codgers and their bellowed, unquestioned ownership
of things? I was sneaking time with my own body.
I know I signed something over, but it wasn’t that.

No matter how I angle this history, it’s weird,
so let’s just say Bringing Up Baby was on the telly
and suddenly my lips pressing against
the couch cushions felt spectacular and I thought
wow this is strange, what the hell, I’m 30 years old,
am I dying down there is this the feel, does the cunt
go to heaven first, ooh, snapped river, ooh shimmy
I had never had it never knew, oh i clamored and
lurched beneath my little succession of boys I cried
writhed hissed, ooh wee, suffered their flat lapping
and machine-gun diddling their insistent c’mon girl
c’mon until I memorized the blueprint for drawing
blood from their shoulders, until there was nothing
left but the self-satisfied liquidy snore of he who has
rocked she, he who has made she weep with script.
But this, oh Cary, gee Katherine, hallelujah Baby,
the fur do fly, all gush and kaboom on the wind.

Don’t hate me because I am multiple, hurtling.
As long as there is still skin on the pad of my finger,
as long as I’m awake, as long as my (new) husband’s
mouth holds out, I am the spinner, the unbridled,
the bellowing freak. When I have emptied him,
he leans back, coos, edges me along, keeps wondering
count. He falls to his knees in front of it, marvels
at my yelps and carousing spine, stares unflinching
as I bleed spittle unto the pillows.
He has married a witness.
My body bucks, slave to its selfish engine,
and love is the dim miracle of these little deaths,
fracturing, speeding for the surface.

We know the record. As it taunts us, we have giggled,
considered stopwatches, little laboratories. Somewhere
beneath the suffering clean, swathed in eyes and silver,
she came 134 times in one hour. I imagine wires holding
her tight, her throat a rattling window. Searching scrubbed
places for her name, I find only reams of numbers. I ask
the quietest of them:

Are we God?

Source: Poetry Foundation

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Patricia Smith, Language has the power...

Communicate. Explore potentials. Find solutions.


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