Danez Smith

Don't Call Us Dead
  • Don't Call Us Dead

  • *WINNER OF THE FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST COLLECTION 2018*
    *A Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry 2017*

    *A Financial Times and Telegraph Book of the Year 2018*

    ‘[Smith’s] poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy’ The New Yorker

    Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a ground-breaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t 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, mortality – the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood – and an HIV-positive diagnosis.

    ‘Some of us are killed / in pieces,’ Smith writes, ‘some of us all at once.’ Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes an America where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

Danez Smith’s debut poetry collection, [insert] boy, won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award. Smith has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and has published poems in Granta, Poetry and The Best American Poetry. Smith lives in Minneapolis.