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And his hands on them, unthreading her language. When he does leave, Patricia is eight-years-old. Her hair is falling out. Her mother quizzes her. Smith uses adjectives as nouns, verbs that open up whole chapters, juxtapositions of unlikely combinations, and dissonances that free our experience.

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These pace her work with rhythm-backed passion—but she also pays close attention to form. Each stanza contains thirteen lines; each line has thirteen syllables. In it she details the heartbreak and heaven of puberty—menstruation, pimples, switch-beatings, fame fantasy—putting away Barbie on the shelf.

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A fascinating theme Smith explores throughout the book is how outer facts can define our inner selves. Beneath the concept of color, prejudice, and poverty there is an underlying desire for the magic of change to effect identity, to wipe clean each of our individual shames.


  • Two Poems from Patricia Smith | Sampsonia Way Magazine?
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This weaves through a host of poems that court different types of change—geography, speech patterns, skin color, fashion style, age—and of course, her name. It was that image that sparked the poem. So I knew how important it was to keep writing. I only began to think of it as a potential book when I had 30 or more poems.

Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah

CA: Blood Dazzler includes one poem that uses the ghazal form. Why did you choose the ghazal as a fixed form for this poem when so many of your other pieces are shaped by your own improvised structure? So I tried it, it fit the subject matter, and I loved the result. What has drawn you more to written word poetry and what does it mean to relinquish control of a poem?

I just studied the craft, grew in confidence, and began to write more. What is it about the power of the spoken word? Does the poem not come alive until it is spoken? What, in your opinion, is the difference between simply reading work and hearing yourself speak it? How does it shape the meaning of the poem?

After all, poetry began as an aural art, mouth to ear, and—like all good storytelling—it lives most effectively on the air. Like pregnancy, while sterile poetry Tightens, reduces, crimps, corrects—and shows A contrapuntal breathlessness. Now, Steve is marinating steak. Do you have these fears, too?

Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah by Patricia Smith, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

The story is much more important than a label for the form you choose for its telling. Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. The need for change, along with the kitchen, refrigerator and mildew, ask questions:. Can I use this to scrub the uncontrollable black from the surface of my daughter, to make her less Negro and somehow less embarrassing to me? Diana [Ross] was the bone our mothers coveted the flow of slip silver they knew was buried deep beneath their rollicking heft.

She thinks of mouths thrown open, red octave cackles riding a surface of glass.

The Memoir-in-Verse: An Interview with Patricia Smith

And his hands on them, unthreading her language. When he does leave, Patricia is eight-years-old. Her hair is falling out. Her mother quizzes her. Smith uses adjectives as nouns, verbs that open up whole chapters, juxtapositions of unlikely combinations, and dissonances that free our experience. These pace her work with rhythm-backed passion—but she also pays close attention to form.

Each stanza contains thirteen lines; each line has thirteen syllables. In it she details the heartbreak and heaven of puberty—menstruation, pimples, switch-beatings, fame fantasy—putting away Barbie on the shelf. A fascinating theme Smith explores throughout the book is how outer facts can define our inner selves. Beneath the concept of color, prejudice, and poverty there is an underlying desire for the magic of change to effect identity, to wipe clean each of our individual shames.

This weaves through a host of poems that court different types of change—geography, speech patterns, skin color, fashion style, age—and of course, her name. The rhyme patterns may not be obvious at first, because the music is so vibrant it never approaches the pit of end-rhyme sing-song. While dare I say it?