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Copyright 2017 Patricia Smith All Rights Reserved

Cover Image by Benjamin Busch | Site Built by Karissa Chen

Incendiary Art

WINNER: 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

                2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize

                 2018 NAACP Image Award

                2018 Black Caucus /American Library Assn.

                         Best Poetry Award

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FINALIST:   2018 Pulitzer Prize

                 Neustadt International Prize in Literature

                

 

This compelling collection confronts the tyranny against the black male body and the tenacious grief of the mothers of the “dark magicians.” Dynamic sequences, which include a chronicle of the devastating murder of Emmett Till, serve as a backdrop for present-day racial calamities and calls for resistance. With a definitive embrace of elaborate and eloquent language— “her gorgeous fallen son a horrid hidden / rot. Her tiny hand starts crushing roses—one by one / by one she wrecks the casket’s spray. It’s how she / mourns—a mother, still, despite the roar of thorns”— and a sharpened focus on incidents of national mayhem and mourning, this is an envisioning, re-envisioning and ultimate reinvention of the role of witness with an incendiary fusion of forms, including prose poems, ghazals, sestinas, and sonnets. This phenomenal book addresses what is frightening, and what is revelatory, about history.

Praise foR Incendiary Art

— Marlon James

Incendiary Art is the fire this time. An epic in five movements where history becomes tragedy, becomes farce, becomes fable. Where the reader becomes complicit, where outcomes burn into forgotten memories, and where nobody gets off the hook.”