I have partied with Emily Warn. I can die now.

Originally Published: June 5th, 2007

Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of seven books of poetry, including Incendiary Art (2017); Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle...

  1. June 6, 2007
     nate van til

    I need more! Now that I'm sucked into reading your lovely blog, I check it regularly, and the only thing more disappointing than no post is a you-had-to-be-there post with two sentences!

  2. June 6, 2007
     kwame dawes

    That will teach you Patricia Smith! (smile)...

  3. June 8, 2007
     patricia

    nate, i had an absolutely smashing evening on the town with ms. warn, sampling the performance at bar 13 in nyc (a poetry slam venue) and noshing at what purports to be The Apple's most popular eatery, seven years running. Zagat says so.
    i am a kindly middle-aged housewife (ha), and this was very, very exciting for me. i hyperventilated a little.
    (p.s. it's nice to know you're lurking...)

  4. June 8, 2007
     emily warn

    What Patricia didn't say is bar 13 is the venue for theLouderArts, a non-profit organization she founded with Roger Bonair-Agard and Lynne Procope (chime in Patricia if I'm getting any of this wrong) dedicated to developing poets.
    Roger and Lynne, both from Trinidad, rival Patricia in poetic talent and kind-heartedness. Only Patricia performed a miracle that evening--turning a SPAM email from a Nigerian claiming in broken syntax to need investment help for $6 million dollars into a slam L=A=N=G=U=a=G=U=A=G=E poem that somehow stirred sympathy for the spammer.
    What's more miraculous is she wrote it on a funky leather couch while waiting for the show to start in a dark bar with lots of drinking and carrying on and hugs and hey is that you Patricia? Is that the Patricia Smith? I felt like David Bowie's bodyguard.
    Roger, who seems just as intensely focused yet funny and responsive as Patricia, emceed over the course of three hours: a slam competition, an open mike, and the featured reading by Tracey K. Smith, a "page" poet and recent winner of the James Laughlin prize for her second book Duende. She and her friend Robin Schaer, the Chief Online Editor of poets.org, were kind of surprised to see me there.
    I've left out a bunch--like really the whole evening of readings, but that might give you a glimmer of what it's like to hang with Patricia.

  5. June 9, 2007
     patricia

    One thing wrong, Emily, but kinda a big thing: Unfortunately, I wasn't in on the founding of LouderArts...I'm on the board, and in the middle of its miraculous doings whenever I can be.
    Roger and Lynne are what every poet strives to be--pinpoint about craft and community. And Bar 13 on Monday nights is the art unbridled. Anyone who's discouraged about the state of the genre or dismissive of readings in general (you out there, Kenneth?) should secure a place on that couch.
    And regarding the "miracle": You mean those emails from Nigeria aren't REAL?