Don't Call Us Dead: Poems (Paperback)
Graywolf Press, 9781555977856, 96pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
September 2017 Indie Next List
— Matt Keliher, SubText Books, St. Paul, MN
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Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry
" Smith's] poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy."--The New Yorker
Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don't Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality--the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood--and a diagnosis of HIV positive. "Some of us are killed / in pieces," Smith writes, "some of us all at once." Don't Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America--"Dear White America"--where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.