To celebrate the start of National Poetry Month, Georgian Court University’s Department of English will host award-winning Visiting Poet Patricia Smith for a free virtual reading on Thursday, April 1 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. The event will include a reading, student-led interview, and audience Q&A.
Ms. Smith is nationally recognized and especially loved in New Jersey, so the Department of English is proud to be hosting Ms. Smith, according to Kristen Park Wedlock, assistant professor of writing. She notes that the department has been hard at work since last year to make this happen after a delay due to COVID-19.
“The department rallied together, made the call to go virtual, and we are so pleased, honored, and excited to be hosting Patricia Smith,” says Ms. Wedlock.
Through her poetry, Patricia Smith delivers truth, demands justice, witnesses grief, and celebrates living in lines that carry, cut, and carve out space for attention. There is always a body living in the lines to be inhabited, visited, or mourned. Some of Patricia Smith’s work includes personifying weather as Hurricane Katrina in Blood Dazzler, embodying the experience of migration in Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, or investigating suffering through the elements of fire, water, and air in Incendiary Art. Ms. Smith composes voices that speak out, call in, and carry you to a place of radical compassion.
“Patricia Smith follows the lead; she listens between newsprint clips and shared stories and life experiences to find the emotional, intellectual, and visceral truth that her poetry creates,” says Ms. Wedlock.
Patricia Smith is a professor for the City University of New York as well as an instructor in the Master of Fine Arts program at Sierra Nevada University and Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program. She is the author of eight volumes of poetry and has an impressive list of wins, including the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of Poets, a 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award, the 2014 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize from the Library of Congress, 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a 2008 National Book Award Finalist, and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize. She is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a former fellow at both Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and a record-setting four-time national poetry slam champion as well as a feature on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the film Slamnation. In 2018, Ms. Smith was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work appeared in places such as Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Patricia Smith’s virtual reading and interview is a free, public virtual event on Zoom, and requires registration at https://georgian.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMkdOmqqj8sEtKNYFEyBuRd0kQKMt_u1jtN.