I am astonished at their mouthful names--
Lakinishia, Fumilayo, Chevallanie, Delayo--
their ragged rebellions and lip-glossed pouts,
and all those pants drooped as drapery.
I rejoice when they kiss my face, whisper wet
and urgent in my ear, make me their obsession
because I have brought them poetry.
--from Patricia Smith's Building Nicole's Mama
Patricia Smith is a four-time national individual champion of the notorious and wildly popular National Poetry Slam, an energized competition where poets are judged on the content and performance of their work. No one else has won the title more than twice. Recognized as one of the world's most formidable performers, she was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation,” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” Smith has read her work at venues round the world, including the Poets Stage in Stockholm, Rotterdam's Poetry International Festival, the Aran Islands International Poetry and Prose Festival and on tour in Germany, Austria and Holland. Patricia Smith's latest poetry book, Teahouse of the Almighty, was chosen by Edward Sanders as a 2005 National Poetry Series winner (Coffee House Press), and was also awarded the 2007 Paterson Poetry Prize. She is also the author of three previous books of poetry -- Close to Death (Zoland Books), Big Towns, Big Talk (Zoland Books) and Life According to Motown (Tia Chucha). Smith is currently at work on Fixed on a Furious Star, a biography of Harriet Tubman. Previously she authored Africans in America (Harcourt Brace), a companion volume to the groundbreaking four-part PBS history series.
Please note: This reading contains sexually explicit language.