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Photograph by Hieu Minh Nguyen

An Evening with Danez Smith

Date(s): Thursday, September 12, 2019, 6:30 p.m.
Location: 
Burton Barr Central Library, Pulliam Auditorium, 1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Type(s): 
Talk
Genre and Form(s): Poetry
Cost: Free

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About this Event

Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Burton Barr Central Library for a talk with poet Danez Smith on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Pulliam Auditorium at Burton Barr Central Library (1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004).

While encouraged, RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating information about parking, directions, and other aspects of the event. You do not have to register or RSVP to attend this event. This event is open to the public and free.

The Piper Writers Studio will also be presenting Poeming in Code, Singing to Our Beloveds, a class with Danez Smith on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Burton Barr Central Library, Pulliam Auditorium (1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004). To learn more about the class, visit our website at https://piper.asu.edu/classes/danez-smith/singing-to-our-beloveds.

Logo for Phoenix Public Library

About the Book

Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is the exuberant new book written for Danez and for Danez’s friends and for you and for yours.

& colin kaepernick is my president, who kneels on the air
bent toward a branch, throwing apples down to the children & vets
 

& rihanna is my president, walking out of global summits
with wine glass in hand, our taxes returned in gold
to dust our faces into coins

 

& my mama is my president, her grace stunts
on amazing, brown hands breaking brown bread over
mouths of the hungry until there are none unfed

 

& my grandma is my president & her cabinet is her cabinet
cause she knows to trust what the pan knows
how the skillet wins the war

 
—from “my president”

(Provided by Graywolf Press; Forthcoming Jan 2020)

About the Author

Photograph of Danez Smith by Hieu Minh Nguyen

Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Smith is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award; they also wrote [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Smith's work has been featured widely, appearing on platforms such as Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Smith is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Smith’s third collection, Homie, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020. Find more at www.danezsmithpoet.com

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