audience gave the best feedback through their tears and
their applause, but here’s mine for what it’s
worth…you were the zenith in the emotional arch
of our gathering. You will be the single guest everyone
in that audience will clearly recall a decade from now.
You have become our new measurement for powerful content
and emotional impact.”
---Linda Smith, creative director, Hallmark Cards
a sample of Patricia's work, choose any of the three
first taking the stage of the Green Mill in Chicago
more than 15 years ago, Patricia Smith has defined poetry
in performance. Her unmistakable signature was forged
during those early days at the city’s many open
mics and in her early domination of the poetry slam—in
the toughest place of all, the big-shouldered city where
the slam was born.
epitomizes what a performance poet should be: supremely
confident, radiating with presence, drilling each word
for precise effect, no nuance or inflection too small
for consideration. Perhaps the greatest irony is that
her talent for performance often eclipses her writing
ability—which is, likewise, immense.”
---Victor Infante, Orange County Weekly
changes the energy in any room that she enters.
And her work defies categorization—readings
are often a heady mix of haunting personas, meditations
on current events and jazz-tinged improvisation.
Personal reminiscences about growing up unsure and
imperfect, her close relationship with her father
and the mine-littered landscape of race and class
have made her hugely popular with teen and young
most common question afterward was how our members could
see more of you.”
---Susan Herman, National Conference for Teachers of
encourage fledgling writers in the search for their
own signature voices, Patricia often combines her performances
with workshops or short residencies; she also collaborates
with musicians and other poets to create a program tailored
to the needs of the sponsor. Describe your dream event,
and she’ll make it happen.
conferences and festivals. Kindergarten classrooms. Prisons.
Barnes & Noble. A train platform in Berlin. Jazz clubs.
Harvard Law School. A Chicago mayoral inauguration. Several
thousand African-American History Month celebrations.
Libraries. Juvenile detention centers. HBO’s “Def
Poetry Jam.” Osaka, in front of 10,000 Japanese
businessmen. Collaborating with The Urban Bush Women.
The beach in Bahia. A Milwaukee bar filled with some very
testy bikers. Baptist churches. Right before Viggo Mortensen.
Right after Madeline Albright. Under the direction of
a Nobel Prize winner. In a commercial for Oil of Olay.
Patricia’s voice has been everywhere.