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Don't Call Us Dead: Poems
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Published:
Graywolf Press 2017
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Description

Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection
"[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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/05/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781555979775
ASIN:
B01N2QLTRM

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Danez Smith. (2017). Don't Call Us Dead: Poems. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Danez Smith. 2017. Don't Call Us Dead: Poems. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Danez Smith, Don't Call Us Dead: Poems. Graywolf Press, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Danez Smith. Don't Call Us Dead: Poems. Graywolf Press, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection
"[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.

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      • source: Library Journal
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        August 1, 2017

        In this remarkable second collection from Kate Tufts/Lambda Award winner Smith, the content as well as the writing is transcendent. A core poem, "dear white america," already viewed in a YouTube reading by over 300,000 people, opens with the observation, "i've left Earth in search of darker planets," and every line that follows is a stab-in-the-heart summation of the consequences of racism, delivered in taut, pearlescent prose. Claiming that "my grandmother's hallelujah is only outdone by the fear she nurses every time the blood-fat summer swallows another child," Smith demands, "take your God back," adding "I am equal parts sick of your go back to Africa & I just don't see race." In the end, the poet looks for a place where there's a "history you cannot steal or sell or cast overboard...or redline or shackle or silence." That longing also surfaces in the opening poem, which evokes a sort of sunlit afterlife where black males killed violently gather freely and "jump// in the air and hang there," unburdened by fear. These two poems alone are worth the price of admission, but the whole collection measures up. VERDICT Highly recommended.

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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        Starred review from July 17, 2017
        Smith follows the Lambda Literary Award–winning debut boy with a further display of transcendent talent for close-to-the bone articulation, celebrating the lives of “we citizens/ of an unpopular heaven// & low-attended crucifixions.” Poised at the bruising intersection of black and queer identity, poems such as “dear white america” (“I tried to love you, but you spent my brother’s funeral making plans for brunch”) lose no impact moving from spoken-word stage to page. Smith brilliantly metaphorizes the experience of receiving an HIV diagnosis in Lorca-esque fashion, as becoming “a book of antonyms” and leavens the gravity with moments of mordant wit. An erasure of Diana Ross lyrics leaves the message “if there’s a cure for this/ i want it,” capturing camp’s confrontation with the intolerable. Though visually and formally varied, the collection’s most striking pyrotechnics are rhetorical: “& he will say tonight, I want to take you/ how the police do, unarmed & sudden.” Describing a “down-low house party,” a speaker observes: “we say yo meaning let my body// be a falcon’s talon & your body be the soft innards of goats.” Luminous and piercing, this collection reassembles shattering realities into a shimmering and sharp mosaic.

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Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection
"[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...

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