Poetry International Poetry International

Danez Smith

Danez Smith

Danez Smith

(United States of America, 0)

Danez Smith was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is the author of three poetry collections, including Homie (Graywolf Press, 2020), which won the Minnesota Book Award and the Heartland Bookseller Award and was a Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the NAACP Image Award. They are also the author of Don't Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), which was a Finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Forward Prize, [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, as well as two chapbooks. Smith has been featured as part of Forbes’s annual 30 under 30 list and has received a National Endowment for the Arts literary grant.

Of Smith’s first book, Jericho Brown writes, “The poems of [insert] boy have need of the body – desire it and lament its mortality – but over and again they assert Smith’s seemingly religious belief that every sound the body makes, every word and wail, is only possible through connection to some other plane of existence.”

In an interview with Rigoberto Gonzalez for the National Book Critics Circle blog, Smith said:

What we mark as 'taboo' is reality for many, so the necessity to write what I know to be normal and what is queered by the world lies in the urge to normalize these stories of complicated desires and sex work. I’ve never been one for assimilation, it gives me the creeps, so I’m giving these experiences over to the page to expand the world until it can more adequately accommodate me.

Mary Austin Speaker called Smith’s chapbook Black Movie, “a cinematic tour-de-force that lets poetry vie with film for the honor of which medium can most effectively articulate the experience of Black America.”

                                                                   No chicken jokes in this movie.
No bullets in the heroes. & no one kills the black boy. & no one kills
the black boy. & no one kills the black boy. Besides, the only reason
I want to make this is for that first scene anyway: the little black boy
on the bus with a toy dinosaur, his eyes wide & endless

                                                   his dreams possible, pulsing, & right there.

Smith is a founding member of the multigenre, multicultural Dark Noise Collective.  In 2011, Smith was an Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, and in 2014,  the festival director for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. They are the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, Voices of Our Nation (VONA), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and  elsewhere.

Don’t Call Us Dead was nominated for a National Book Award 2017 and from this book the poem 'summer, somewhere' was awarded the Four Quartets Prize, presented by the T.S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America.

© PoetryFoundation.org

Don’t Call Us Dead, Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2017
Black Movie, Button Poetry, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2015 (chapbook)
[insert] boy, YesYes Books, Portland, Oregon, 2014
Hands on ya knees, Penmanship Publishing, Brooklyn, New York, 2013 (chapbook)
Homie, Graywolf Press, 2020

‘summer, somewhere’ read by Danez Smith
‘Tonight, in Oakland’ read by Danez Smith
POETRY magazine podcast for January 2016 discussing ‘summer, somewhere’ by Danez Smith
POETRY magazine podcast for March 2014 discussing ‘alternate names for black boys’ by Danez Smith
Poetry Off the Shelf with Danez Smith and Brian Russell: ‘The Language of Violence’
‘Everything Black Folks Do Is Excellent’ by Danez Smith, Huffington Post
‘A Plea’ by Danez Smith, Southern Humanities Review
National Book Critics Circle Award blog interview Danez Smith, by Rigoberto González
Interview at Divedapper
Review at Lambda Literary
Interview at Lambda Literary
Interview at The Conversant

Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère