• Patricia Smith

    July 19, 2024

    “If your world is very small and very hard,” Patricia Smith says, “your stories still count.” This week on the Sewanee Review Podcast, managing editor and poetry editor Eric Smith sits down with Patricia Smith, who received the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry for 2023. Their conversation circles Smith’s initiation to the world of poetry through slam, Gwendolyn Brooks’s enduring influence on her work, the power of persona, and the never-ending search for new form. Smith offers up poetry as a force for telling a different kind of story, for opening up a world where everyone can find safety in being seen and heard. “We cannot turn our back on these stories simply because we can’t find another way to think of them,” Smith says. “So: Poets to the rescue. Novelists to the rescue. Essayists to the rescue.”

    Patricia Smith is the author of nine collections of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Blood Dazzler, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent collection is Unshuttered. She is the 2021 recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement, presented by the Poetry Foundation, and a 2022 inductee of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Smith is also a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She teaches at Princeton University.

    The Sewanee Review Podcast is recorded in the Ralston Listening Room at the University of the South. This episode is produced by Madison Sellers and edited by ProPodcast Solutions with music by Annie Bowers. Don’t miss any of our conversations with some of today’s best writers. Subscribe to the Sewanee Review Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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