Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection
â[Smith's] poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy.ââThe New Yorker
Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Donât 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, mortalityâthe dangers experienced in skin and body and bloodâand a diagnosis of HIV positive. âSome of us are killed / in pieces,â Smith writes, âsome of us all at once.â Donât Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes AmericaââDear White Americaââwhere every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.
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