Patricia Smith


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), winner of an NAACP Image Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurricane Katrina which was nominated for a National Book Award; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection published by Coffee House Press. Smith collaborated with the photographer Michael Abramson on the book Gotta Go Gotta Flow: Life, Love, and Lust on Chicago’s South Side From the Seventies (2015). Her work has appeared in Poetry magazine, the Paris Review, the New York Times, TriQuarterly, Tin House, the Washington Post, and in both Best American Poetry and Best American Essays. Source  


Hip-Hop Ghazal

Gotta love us brown girls, munching on fat, swinging blue hips,

decked out in shells and splashes, Lawdie, bringing them woo hips.


As the jukebox teases, watch my sistas throat the heartbreak,

inhaling bassline, cracking backbone and singing thru hips.


Like something boneless, we glide silent, seeping 'tween floorboards,

wrapping around the hims, and ooh wee, clinging like glue hips.


Engines grinding, rotating, smokin', gotta pull back some.

Natural minds are lost at the mere sight of ringing true hips.


Gotta love us girls, just struttin' down Manhattan streets

killing the menfolk with a dose of that stinging view. Hips.


Crying 'bout getting old—Patricia, you need to get up off

what God gave you. Say a prayer and start slinging. Cue hips.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Intersectionality & Culture

Music & Sports

Poetic Form


Literary Devices:


a short, lyrical poem that have five to 15 couplets, each one ending with the same word. Ghazals were originally used by Persian poets in Arabic verse.

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”