Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

The Dazzling Patricia Smith

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Kelli Russell Agodon has a great post about going to see the poet Patricia Smith, author of Blood Dazzler, and how inspired the reading left her.  She meditates a bit on Smith’s reading style and delivery.  She says, “Patricia was nothing like the dull, dry, uncaring poet that has/might be/is the stereotype of what is wrong with poetry readings.  She is the comet when you were expecting a clear night and no rain.  She is the unexpected hug when you were expecting a handshake.”

Kelli’s post has links to Smith’s website.  Dave Bonta’s Moving Poems site has some great videos here.

Patricia Smith was part of an AWP panel on collaboration, and her collaborative work sounded just as fascinating as her work on the printed page.  I hope I have the chance to see her read her poems in a live performance at some point.  I’ll keep my eyes open for the opportunity.

Author: Kristin Berkey-Abbott

A poet, a scholar, an administrator, a wanna-be mystic--always wrestling with the temptation to run away to join an intentional community--but would it be contemplative? social justice oriented? creative? in the mountains? in the inner city?--may as well stay planted and wrestle with these tensions and contradictions here, at the edge of America.

One thought on “The Dazzling Patricia Smith

  1. Wow, great stuff, thanks for posting, Kristin. We’ve gone back and forth here about what makes a good reader and I think we all agreed that at the end of the day there is something intangible that is needed. Don’t know what it’s name is, but it’s a verb, whatever it is – a doing word. Inhabiting the poem, always comes to mind for me. Wearing it, like a skin. Whatever it is, Patricia Smith does it in spades.

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