Don't Call Us Dead: Poems (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Don't Call Us Dead is an absolute masterpiece, the kind of book that makes you believe in poetry's ability to change the world. Danez Smith lays out their body in all its vulnerabilities as a queer black HIV positive person living in a police state. The opening poem "summer somewhere" is especially gut-wrenching--both a eulogy for black boys and men killed by the state, and a call to re-imagine our definition of safety.

-- Gabby

— From Gabby S. Staff Picks


Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry

" 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 groundbreaking 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 a diagnosis of HIV positive. "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 America--"Dear White America"--where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

About the Author

Danez Smith is the author of [insert] boy, winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Smith has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation and the Poetry Foundation, and lives in Minneapolis.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977856
ISBN-10: 1555977855
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: September 5th, 2017
Pages: 96
Language: English