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Incendiary Art


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Patricia Smith is renowned as both a page and stage poet. She is a four-time individual champion of America's National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition's history. She gave readings at festivals in Newcastle and Cork in 2018, and will launch Incendiary Art at events in April 2019 at Cuirt International Festival of Literature in Galway, Southbank Centre in London, and other venues to be confirmed.

Table of Contents

I. Incendiary That Chile Emmett in That Casket Enigma of the Shadowbox Swine Incendiary Art BlessBlessed Incendiary Art: MOVE, Philadelphia, 1985 Emmett Till: Choose Your Own Adventure The Then Where Incendiary Art: Chicago, 1968 Reemergence of the Noose Emmett Till: Choose Your Own Adventure ReBirthday Incendiary Art: Birmingham, 1963 Runaway 10-Year-Old Shot Three Times, but She's Fine Emmett Till: Choose Your Own Adventure Hey, who you got in here? Incendiary Art: Los Angeles, 1992 Black, Poured Directly into the Wound No Wound of Exit Incendiary Art: Tulsa, 1921 See What Happen When You Don't Be Careful Mammy Two-Shoes, Rightful Owner of Tom, Addresses the Lady of the House Incendiary Art: Ferguson, 2014 XXXL Emmett Till: Choose Your Own Adventure How to Bust into a Black Man's House and Take a Boy Out II. When Black Men Drown Their Daughters The Five Stages of Drowning Sentencing Why the Verdict Just Don't Sound Right; or, The Bobbing Baby Blues This is no movie On every inch of me, there are rumors of fathers Meanwhile, the Mother When Black Men Drown Their Daughters Blurred Quotient and Theory III. Accidental Sagas of the Accidental Saint The Mother Dares Make Love Again, After IV. Shooting into the Mirror Sometimes Elegy The First 23 Minutes of the First Day Without Requiem And He Stays Dead Emmett Till: Choose Your Own Adventure Incendiary Art: The Body Acknowledgments

About the Author

Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Incendiary Art (Triquarterly, USA, 2017; Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2019), winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize. Her other collections include Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow, a collaboration with award-winning Chicago photographer Michael Abramson. Her other books include the poetry volumes Teahouse of the Almighty, Close to Death, Big Towns Big Talk, Life According to Motown; the children's book Janna and the Kings and the history Africans in America, a companion book to the award-winning PBS series. She co-edited The Golden Shovel Anthology - New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks and edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir. She is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, a former fellow at both Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition's history. Patricia is a professor at the College of Staten Island and in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, as well as an instructor at the annual VONA residency and in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Residency Program.


Incendiary Art is the fire this time. An epic in five movements where history becomes tragedy, becomes farce, becomes fable. Where the reader becomes complicit, where outcomes burn into forgotten memories, and where nobody gets off the hook. -- Marlon James
As with Smith's previous books, one encounters an urgent voice on the page that is exuberant, sharp, and questing in its search for understanding of the fatalities that besiege black life in America. The imaginative qualities of these poems and others are what make them captivating. She is a poet of immense originality, and these poems are a testament to her powers. -- Major Jackson
Patricia Smith is a masterful poet, performer, and pundit. And while her chosen field is the form and grace of language, her gift to the world that orbits the Black experience is truth. -- Walter Mosley

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