Dame Patricia Smith
At the Sierra Nevada MFA residency last week, Patricia Smith read a new poem about our black sons in America, a poem that included two young white men's help in presenting, and, combined with Patricia's talent at channeling voices and performing from the root of her being, it brought the house to their feet in stunned applause. Many were sobbing. People talk a lot about whether MFA programs are bullshit or not, but there are few places where one can be present for writing bursting into being, where one can be there for an historic literary moment, as I believe this was: this poem by one of our most brilliant writers just cresting her true authority and finally getting the recognition she deserves, this poem, when it gets published, will represent this time for so many of us. Mark it: I'm saying this poem will rise to the top of all of the poems that come out of these flames.