Don't Call Us Dead

Don't Call Us Dead

Summary

*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.

Reviews

  • This book is poetry as fierce fire. There is such intelligence and fervor in these poems about black men and their imperiled bodies, gay men and their impassioned bodies, what it means to be HIV positive, and so much more. Every poem impressed me, and the level of craft here is impeccable
    Roxane Gay

About the author

Danez Smith

Danez Smith is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead, winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Four Quartets Prize awarded by the Poetry Society of America, and a finalist for the National Book Award. They live in Minneapolis.
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