The Poetry Foundation today announced that Patricia Smith has been awarded the 2021 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. One of the most prestigious awards given to American poets, the $100,000 prize honors a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. Read the announcement here.

More about Patricia Smith here.

on poetry

June 25, 2021

“I keep thinking how my life would have been changed if I’d known earlier about this second throat, this poetry, this alternate way of processing my life.”
Patricia Smith
(b. June 25, 1955)

. . . . .
photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths


April 22, 2018

In November, we announced that Frank Bidart won the National Book Award in poetry for Half-light: Collected Poems 1965–2016 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Now the book has won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The finalists were semiautomatic, by Evie Shockley, and Incendiary Art, by Patricia Smith.

poetry talk

December 4, 2017

If you like listening to no-holds-barred conversation about poetry, check out The Poetry Gods. The podcast series, hosted by Aziza Barnes, Jon Sands, and José Olivarez, features interviews with poets and stories about the people behind the poems. To date, there are 28 podcasts on their Sound Cloud channel, including interviews with Mahogany L. Browne, Patricia Smith, and Tim Seibles. Plenty of lively listening here.

Here comes the Cascadia Poetry Festival! Get thee to Tacoma! Events begin on Thursday evening, October 12, 2017, 7:00pm, at King’s Books and continue all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Washington State History Museum.

There will be a tribute to Tacoma native Richard Brautigan with his daughter, Ianthe Brautigan, as well as readings and/or workshops featuring Michael McClure, CAConrad, Patricia Smith, Bruce Weigl, Washington Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, Sharon Thesen, Lucia Misch, and Lorna Dee Cervantes, among others. A $25 Gold Pass gives you access to everything except workshops. See the complete schedule and performer bios as well as links to workshop descriptions and event registration.

Patricia Smith!

November 6, 2016

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith doesn’t spell her name with an exclamation point, but she should. A powerful poet and a dynamic performer and instructor, Smith will offer a three-hour workshop and a public reading in La Conner on Sunday, November 20, 2016.

The workshop, “Stamping the Word with You,” will examine the elements that help you identify, define, and establish your creative signature. It runs from 10:00am to 1:00pm at the La Conner Middle School Library, 503 N. Sixth Street in La Conner. Cost is $120, and the workshop is limited to 15 participants. For registration, contact Molly McNulty at

Smith’s public reading will begin at 2:00pm at the Museum of Northwest Art, with donations at the door to benefit The Skagit River Poetry Foundation, which brings poets into public-school classrooms throughout the region.

In her reading, Patricia Smith will discuss her new book, Incendiary Art, which examines the black experience in prose poems, sestinas, and sonnets. She will also explore the conception, trajectory, and difficulties of crafting a cohesive manuscript.

Patricia Smith is the author of six critically acknowledged volumes of poetry, including the National Book Award-finalist Blood Dazzler, a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurricane Katrina, and the National Poetry Series winner Teahouse of the Almighty. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and in both Best American Poetry and Best American Essays.

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