Two Gifts: New Poetry by Patricia Smith and Camille Dungy
Patricia Smith is a powerhouse poet, one of our finest persona voices, and an electric presence on and off the page. She also works with expanded forms in innovative ways to respond to seemingly unspeakable despairs (see her reading "34" on Youtube, a poem written in the 34 voices of residents in a flooded nursing home during Hurricane Katrina who perished). Amidst the atrocities of the pandemic, Smith writes a masterful sonnet crown.
Camille Dungy is featured on this episode of The Slowdown, hosted by Tracy K. Smith, and while I am a fan of all the episodes, Camille's poem "Frequently Asked Questions" blew me back and kept rippling its unwavering effects on me. Essential, brilliant, heart-changing.